Popular South Korean YouTuber Tzuyang has apologized for his mukbang video featuring a comedian's portrayal of a Filipina after it sparked outrage and was branded as racist.
The mukbang video: The now-deleted video, titled “The Philippine subscriber(?) was surprised 🤣 Beef tripe rice noodles mukbang,” was deemed racist for mocking Filipino accents and pushing stereotypes. In the video, comedian Kim Ji Young portrays a Filipino woman named "Nitung," who purportedly speaks Korean in a Filipino accent.
"Originally, I was a farmer's wife, but now I'm a comedian!” she says. “I came here because I wanted to get married. When I first met my husband, I seduced him. I'm versatile in various ways... I'm skilled at massage and driving. My husband fell for me when he saw that."
When asked why she is interested in Koreans, the comedian says, "K-drama... I fantasized about Korean men after watching K-dramas,” before sharing her admiration for South Korean actor Cha Eun-Woo and K-pop group BTS.
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After ordering food and discussing her life, "Nitung" reveals her true identity as a Korean comedian. "I am a Korean! I have never been abroad, and I don't have a passport... I'm a true Seoul native,” Kim says.
The backlash: Following the controversy, a video of Kim's reveal gained 2 million views on TikTok, with viewers calling for Tzuyang to be "canceled" and boycotted. Korean American TikToker Priscilla Kwon also posted a video summarizing the controversy, receiving nearly 4 million views.
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“While the Filipino fans have voiced that the accent and the cosplaying are offensive, Korean fans are also saying that this video is racist, and they don’t understand why they’re (Tzuyang & her team) are being silent,” Kwon says.
Online reactions: Filipino fans expressed disappointment in Tzuyang, vowing not to watch her videos. Viewers criticized the irony of a Korean mocking the Filipino accent, highlighting the Philippines’ role as a prime source of English education for South Koreans.
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“Mocking the Filipino accent when thousands of Koreans literally go to the Philippines JUST to study and learn English? Lol Tzuyang, I expected more from you. How disappointing,” one viewer wrote.
“I have a Filipino friend who loves Tzuyang's mukbang videos,” a Korean commented. “And I'm very upset that they have to see this.”
“Imagine (football player) Son Heung Min or a BTS member being made fun of for their accent (when they're abroad). This type of humor is not it,” a viewer said.
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Tzuyang’s apology: In response to the backlash, the video's title was initially changed to “Vietnamese restaurant where you eat in line 😃 Beef Gopchang Rice Noodles Mukbang.” However, Tzuyang decided to fully remove the video on Monday before issuing an apology in Tagalog, English and Korean. On her YouTube channel, Tzuyang wrote:
“I want to extend my sincere apologies to our Filipino viewers and subscribers for any concerns caused by the video uploaded on Jan 28 with a Korean comedian. I hold great respect for the Philippines and feel genuinely grateful to the many viewers in the Philippines who enjoy my videos. However, it was a huge oversight on my part not to realise that the content we produced might unintentionally cause emotional pain, which was not our intention. We have already removed the video in question. I will carefully heed the criticisms and comments from our viewers and will make every effort to be thoughtful and attentive when creating content in the future.”
What now?: The apology post has since garnered over 7,000 likes and nearly 2,000 comments, primarily from Koreans calling for sincere reflection from Tzuyang, her team and KBS, the host of “Gag Concert.”
Many continued to express embarrassment and sympathy for Filipinos, suggesting the program's abolishment due to perceived belittlement. Kim, who apparently has a history of imitating Filipinos, has not addressed the matter.
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