Filipino netizens are “canceling” Korea, saying it has “a toxic digital culture” that floods the online world, all because of an innocent dance routine uploaded by a popular content creator on the video-sharing app Tiktok.
Four days ago, Hawaii-based Filipino content creator Bella Poarch choreographed an 18-second dance routine to the tune of “The Banjo beat, Pt. 1” on Tiktok, where she has more than 16 million followers.
A few hours later, the video gained traction and was shared on numerous social media platforms, including Twitter.
But in the video, Poarch is seen sporting a tattoo with the rays of the Japanese “Rising Sun,” which drew backlash from Korean netizens, who were offended by the ink on her left arm.
Most Koreans still resent Japan, which uses the rising sun image extensively in its art, for colonizing their country during World War II.
To defend Poarch, at least 200,000 Filipinos took to Twitter using the hashtag #CancelKorea after a netizen called Pinoys “short and uneducated” on Poarch’s video’s comment section.
Filipino netizens also made some historical comments, noting the Philippines was the first Asian country to send combat troops to the Korean War that began on June 25, 1950.
Poarch was born in the Philippines, but her family migrated to the United States when she was 13 years old. Her Tiktok profile proudly displays the Philippine flag.
The social media personality then posted an apology on TikTok with a photo of the tattoo, and said she did not know what it meant.
“So I decided to make a dance for this sound and I’m not good at dancing,” Poarch, 19, said in the caption of her video that has garnered almost 76 million views, 124 thousand comments, 10 million likes, and 30 thousand shares.
“I’m very sorry if my tattoo offends you. I love Korea. Please forgive me. Here is a photo of my arm tattoo. I love Korea. I would never do anything to hurt anyone,” she wrote, adding that she will have the tattoo removed immediately.
Poarch admitted that she did not know the meaning of the rising sun image to Koreans when she got it in March.
“I only found out, when Koreans told me about it on TikTok… So I had it covered by a heart and I was scheduled for a tattoo removal for red rays. The virus got worse and my appointment got moved to November,” she added.
In a separate post on Twitter, Poarch also admitted that she made a mistake but said it’s a different scenario when “they (the offended parties) attack the Philippines and Filipinos.”