Oli London, who goes by the pronouns they/them, has traded barbs with a Black interviewer in the British web documentary Would You Rather after stressing that they are Korean.
London, a British-born influencer who underwent multiple surgeries to look like BTS Jimin, squared off with the interviewer to discuss if it’s appropriate to identify themself as Korean.
“I identify as Korean. I used to live in Korea, I was living there for one year. I love the culture, the history, and the people. I put myself through a lot of pain, and a lot of surgical procedures to have more of a Korean aesthetic… I came out earlier this year, sharing that with the world,” London said.
The influencer added that “not a lot of people get it,’ hoping that “people will be more accepting of me over time.”
However, the interviewer, who wasn’t named in the video, said London identifying themself as “transracial” is very harmful “to push the narrative that it’s possible to switch races.”
In response, London insisted that being in Korea made them “happy” and “no one can take that happiness away from me.”
“I can't sit up here and say, ‘Oh, I'm suddenly a white woman’ or I can be Black or I can Korean because the privilege of where you benefit from, then it’s not an equal exchange,” the interviewer said.
The interviewer also opened up about her experiences as a Black woman and the dangers of cultural appropriation, sharing that switching races can “result in me dying.”
“You are not a Korean man. No matter how much surgery you do or the aesthetic you adopt. If you don’t recognize that power imbalance in what you’re doing and how it’s disrespectful to me, then you’re proving the point that you’re doing this for the money and attention,” the interviewer said.
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London replied that people have the right to “choose how they identify themselves and be who they want to be.”
“I’m Korean. People need to accept that,” they added.
The influencer said identifying as “transracial” and non-binary has “helped” a lot of people because it inspires them to “live my truth and do what makes me happy.”
“Do you think this is better if no one speaks up for these people? I’m trying to speak up to these people,” London added.
London added that “millions and millions” of people have been “combining cultures” by incorporating elements from K-pop and K-drama into their daily life.
The interview eventually finished with both parties standing their ground, saying they’re proud of doing so.
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Netizens, meanwhile, shared their two cents on the heated exchange in the comments section.
“As a Korean, this is so offensive. He’s not appreciating our culture he is mocking us and rather disrespecting our culture. He doesn’t know our history and the pain that our people went through, plus the pain we are going through now,” one netizen wrote.
Another netizen said, “I'm shocked by all the people actually supporting this absolute nonsense. If a white woman surgically darkens her skin and starts speaking with a “blaccent,” she can identify as transracial black? No, she’s masquerading as an interpretation of what a black person is.”
A few days later, London took to social media to share how they “felt more happy and beautiful” as Korean. The influencer shared four different snaps, looking well-dressed up.
For the last month I have been living as a Korean woman. And I have never felt more happy and beautiful finally I can be the person I was meant to be. 🙏🏻🙏🏻 Thank you for inspiring me to be a strong woman @jk_rowling 🙏🏻💖 #olilondon pic.twitter.com/BpoSesjTbF— Oli London (@OliLondonTV) May 11, 2022
“For the last [month,] I have been living as a Korean woman. And I have never felt more happy and beautiful. [Finally,] I can be the person I was meant to be. Thank you for inspiring me to be a strong woman,” London wrote.
London came out as a “transracial Korean” in an interview with Daily Mail.
“I came out as transracial Korean and that was an important step in my transition process… I have been experimenting and exploring being a Korean woman and now feel ready to share with the world that I am gender fluid and now living as a Korean woman,” the influencer was quoted as saying.
London has reportedly been under the knife 18 times to look like BTS’ main dancer and lead vocalist, Jimin.
The influencer also took their obsession with the BTS member to new heights as they married and eventually divorced a cardboard cutout of Jimin.