Hashtag ‘#cancelkorea‘ has been trending in the Philippines since last night and has sparked a heated debate among Korean and Filipino netizens.
The hashtag trended after Bella Poarch, a Fil-Am TikToker, gained attention of her tattoo that was associated with Japanese imperialism. The tattoo is considered offensive to Koreans as this brings about memories of Japan’s treatment over South Korea.
Poarch immediately apologized for her ignorance and explained in one of the replies that she was only inspired by Jhene Aiko, an American singer-songwriter. Poarch added that she in fact loves Korea and will have her tattoo covered up.
I apologize to Koreans because 6 months ago I got a tattoo of the red sun with 16 rays. At that time, I didn’t know the history. But when I found out, I immediately had it covered and scheduled for removal. I am ashamed of myself for not doing my research. I sincerely apologize.
— Bella Poarch (@bellapoarch) September 6, 2020
However, some Korean netizens did not take this lightly and attacked her with racial slurs. Worse, some generalized Filipinos for being “uneducated” and “poor.” These led to heated exchange of racist and discriminatory comments between Filipino and Korean netizens.
Others, especially K-Pop fans, took this as an opportunity to be positive and supportive of their culture and identity, while others posted reminders of the decades-long relationship between the Filipino and Korean people.
Retweet this if you're proud to have dark skin and proud to be filipino.
— • (@imparsha25) September 9, 2020
We feel betrayed by you guys. Let me remind you that 112 filipino soldiers died in action during korean war. The philippines was the FIRST asian country to SEND combat troops to your country. #cancelkorea pic.twitter.com/vsIrIh8xwi
— Rhea Joy Valle Navarro (@RheaJoyValle) September 9, 2020
Some Filipino netizens also responded that instead of trending ‘#cancelkorea’, ‘#ApologizetoFilipinos’ and ‘#CancelToxicKoreans’ should be trended instead.