Comedian Lee Yong Jin and the YouTube series “Turkids on the Block” received major backlash from netizens for their misrepresentation of Turkish culture.
Lee Yong Jin plays a “Turkish ice cream man,” but netizens pointed out that his outfit is completely unrelated to Turkey. Instead of Turkish clothing, Lee wore a kurta, which is a shirt historically worn in South Asian countries such as India. Turkey is located in Western Asia and its culture is significantly different from that of South Asian nations.
The show’s use of South Asian clothing while attempting to portray a Turkish character upset numerous netizens who saw this act as culturally insensitive.
The STUDIO WAFFLE staff quickly responded to the backlash in the comment section of the show’s latest episode, which featured idols HyunA and DAWN. They apologized for their “clothing issue” and said that they will consult experts for future costume changes.
Some netizens have reacted positively to their statement, while others are hesitant to accept it and are encouraging more immediate, thorough action.
Cultural appropriation and insensitivity within the South Korean entertainment industry are being called out more and more as the Korean wave continues to spread around the world. As the audience for Korean entertainment grows, fans hope to see an increase in inclusivity and respect across cultural lines.