Oli London is a British influencer who had cosmetic surgery to look like Park Ji-min of BTS.
London recently announced that they identified as nonbinary and Korean.
The announcement generated massive backlash online, following a pattern in London's career.
Oli London, the British influencer known for getting multiple cosmetic surgeries to look like the vocalist Park Ji-min from BTS, has come under fire for recently saying that they identify as Korean and tweeting an alteration of the South Korean flag in rainbow colors.
London, who uses "they" and "them" pronouns, has been a known figure in fan spaces around South Korean media and entertainment for years. They gained notoriety for publicizing their cosmetic surgery journey to look, as they said in a 2018 interview with Barcroft TV, like Park.
London is now an influencer with over 427,000 followers on TikTok and 28,600 subscribers on YouTube, in addition to having released songs like "Christmas in Korea."
Their most recent announcement - that they "identify as Korean" - as well as the rainbow flag they posted drew massive backlash online from those saying that they were disrespecting Korean identity and culture.
It follows a history of outrage that the influencer has generated over the years.
Oli London said that they've spent over $150,000 on cosmetic surgery to look like Park Ji-min
London has gained notoriety over the years through reality television appearances and through publicizing their cosmetic surgery journey on programs like Barcroft TV's "Hooked on the Look" series and E!'s "Botched" series.
"I'm not actually changing my race," London said in the 2019 interview with Barcroft TV. "I have a deep respect for Korean culture. It's cultural appreciation, not cultural appropriation."
According to a January 2020 Dr. Phil segment, London had gone through 15 surgeries over the course of 6 years in pursuit of looking like Park, spending over $150,000 in the process.
"If you look at the pictures of me and Ji-min, we're identical," London said in the interview. "When I was in Korea everyone calls me Ji-min I'm walking down the street. Everyone, they think I'm Ji-min."
London has drawn attention for other stunts like marrying a cardboard cutout of Park
London told The Daily Mail in 2020 that they had married a cardboard cutout of Park in Las Vegas.
In May 2021, they also drew attention online when their Instagram account was labeled as memorialized, which typically means that the owner of the account has died. London was not dead, and the status of the account was restored.
The incident - as well as a prank news article saying that they had died - led to people online speculating that they had engineered the incident. The Sun reported that London said that they thought they had been "hacked" and found the incident "very upsetting."
London came under fire in June 2021 for announcing they identify as Korean
On June 18, London tweeted an image of a rainbow reimaging of the South Korean flag, saying that it was their "new official flag for being a non-binary person who identifies as Korean." They also said that they use "they and them" pronouns as well as "kor/ean" neopronouns.
According to the New York Times, neopronouns "can be a word a created to serve as pronoun without expressing gender, like 'ze' and 'zir.' A neopronoun can also be a so-called 'noun-self pronoun,' in which a pre-existing word is drafted into use as a pronoun."
The announcement that they identify as Korean drew major backlash online, Paper Magazine reported. Paper's Sandra Song wrote that London's announcement that they identify as Korean "effectively trivializes our identities because they're suddenly 'trendy.'"
Many criticized the rainbow reimagining that London posted, the Daily Dot reported, saying that it was offensive to Korean culture and insulted the flag's meaning. The Republic of Korea's flag, known as the Taegeukgi, has deep cultural meaning represented by its symbols and colors, according to the Republic of Korea's Ministry of the Interior and Safety.
London has doubled down on their statement, claiming in a YouTube video that the flag they posted was "the official flag that all of the LGBT organizations the people of Korea use." Insider was unable to determine which organizations London was referring to. The flag was uploaded to Wikipedia under the title "Flag of South Korean LGBT" in 2014, but was publicly nominated for deletion on June 22 for "national offense to South Korea & defamation of flag."
They later posted a statement in response to the backlash.
"Yes I identify as Korean. Yes I'm non-binary. Yes I look like Jimin," they wrote in an Instagram post. "But none of this should be a reason to outcast me from society, to dehumanize me and shame me for being who I am, a non-binary Korean person."
London's manager told The Daily Dot that London "felt strongly attached to Korea and the Korean culture and feels much more connected to this than his own culture."
The current backlash against London follows years of criticism of the star, their cosmetic surgery in pursuit of looking like Park, and their appropriation of Korean culture.
"It's one thing to be inspired by the way BTS Jimin looks," Reddit user u/Amaryllis_smlflwr said in a post on r/kpoprants. "But to go to the lengths of getting plastic surgery to mimic his face is beyond creepy, it's fetishization to the max."
London did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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