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29th Jun 2021

Influencer criticised for “identifying as Korean” after eye surgery

Sarah McKenna Barry

Many felt that Oli’s identity as “transracial” is damaging to Korean people, as well as those who are trans and non-binary.

A white, English influencer has attracted criticism for “coming out” as Korean after undergoing numerous surgeries to resemble Jimin, a member of the K-pop boyband BTS.

Oli London announced that they were transraacial as they recovered from eye surgery, a face-lift, a brow-lift and a temple lift.

In a video Oli said: “I know a lot of people don’t understand me, but I do identify as Korean, I do look Korean now, I do feel Korean. I don’t identify as British, so please don’t refer to me as British because I identify as Korean, that’s just my culture, that’s my home country, that’s exactly how I look now.”

They continued: “I identify with the culture, I’ve lived in Korea, I speak the language, I have the Korean look now, I look completely Korean.”

In a post on Instagram, Oli outlined how they decided to “come out” as Korean in order to help “millions of others LGBTQI+ young people around the world, Kpop fans and the Korean people feel confident enough to be able to feel no fear to be able to express themselves and how they identify.”

Since then, the influencer has come under fire for their remarks, which fetishise Asian and Korean people.

On Twitter, one person wrote: “It’s not funny, and will never be funny. He literally got eye surgery to make his eyes “more Asian”, and uses his platform to disrespect, infantilize and fetishize Asians on a daily basis. Racism is not a joke.”

Another wrote that it was the “ultimate cultural appropriation”.

Others felt that claiming to be “transracial” makes light of the very real battle trans and non-binary people fight every day

“A lot of people generally are struggling to accept themselves sometimes because of the society,” one person wrote. “And yet oli london is saying it like it’s a joke.”