‘#cancelkorea’ trends, sparks racism debate over Fil-Am TikToker

Hashtag ‘#cancelkorea‘ has been trending in the Philippines since last night and has sparked a heated debate among Korean and Filipino netizens.

The hashtag has been trending since late night of September 8. Screenshot taken at 11:30AM, September 9.

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.

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.

Some Filipino netizens also responded that instead of trending ‘#cancelkorea’, ‘#ApologizetoFilipinos’ and ‘#CancelToxicKoreans’ should be trended instead.

Cheska De Ocampo
Always up and about, Cheska was once asked if she always meets different people every single day. Well – not always – but almost because it is part of her job description and because she is actively involved in church. Having the opportunity to join KStreetManila, she combines two of her loves – writing and Korean culture. During her downtime (which somehow rarely happens), she is either scrolling through Twitter, writing for her blog, trying to be fit, reading a good book, or appreciating beauty and fashion.

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