Squid Game has fast become a major global hit. While it’s never easy to predict what will be a huge success with audiences, this show in particular wasn’t ready for the level of recognition it’s receiving on a global scale. One individual definitely wasn’t ready for it. A woman in South Korea has been attempting to go about her normal daily life. That daily life includes using her phone a fair amount as her number is her main point of contact with her clients. She’s having a hard time staying in touch with those clients as she is getting calls from Squid Game fans wanting to join the game. It turns out: her phone number is in the show. She’s not amused. Netflix in South Korea has now promised they’re working on editing the scenes in the show to remove her number and are asking fans not to call.
The South Korean woman didn’t know what was going on at first, and neither did Netflix. In Squid Game, there’s a scene where a business card with a phone number is shown. There are some symbols on the card. Since the phone number shown in the series doesn’t include the first three numbers, Netflix assumed that if the number was dialed, nothing would happen. Instead, when audiences in South Korea have dialed that number, they’ve been routed to the local person with the remaining digits and getting this woman’s phone.
According to Reuters in Seoul, she was offered a million won in compensation for her number being used in Squid Game, and then five million won. In USD, that’s approximately $830 and then $4,180. She has turned these offers down. Presidential candidate Huh Kyung-young made headlines when he offered her 100 million won (over $83,000) but she didn’t take that bait, either. Under telecommunications business law in South Korea, it’s actually illegal to sell your phone number, which makes the presidential candidate’s offer seem especially odd. In South Korea, phone numbers are considered limited resources. On top of that, this individual needs her number for her work. She’s getting thousands of phone calls. She honestly sounds distressed and like it’s ruining her life. She told Money Today:
After Squid Game aired, I have been receiving calls and texts endlessly, 24/7, to the point that it’s hard for me to go on with daily life. This is a number that I’ve been using for more than 10 years, so I’m quite taken aback. There are more than 4000 numbers that I’ve had to delete from my phone (viewers) and it’s to the point where due to people reaching out without a sense of day and night due to their curiosity, my phone’s battery is drained and turns off. At first I didn’t know why but my friend told me that my number came out in Squid Game and that’s when I realized.
Typically, television shows and movies will use 555 numbers in Hollywood productions. In South Korea, they have their own system, but that wasn’t available to Netflix. The company is trying its best to fix the situation Squid Game has caused for her, but it’s unclear how successful they’ll be as the series is taking off.
In fact, Squid Game is now so popular that internet companies are blaming Netflix for destroying their bandwidth. They’re even suing the streaming giant. On top of that, individuals who speak both Korean and English have been pointing out that the show’s subtitles are often inaccurate. Their breakdowns of what the show is missing have been both fascinating and unfortunate. They’ve shown that while Squid Game‘s English-speaking audience is getting the same basic plot points, they’re missing some of the finer points in the social commentary and details about the fan-favorite characters. Netflix has yet to comment on this issue.