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Netflix was forced to change some scenes in ‘Squid Game’ – here’s why

Published Oct 6th, 2021 2:17PM EDT
Squid Game phone number
Image: Netflix

Netflix’s new original TV series Squid Game has been one of the streamer’s most surprising success stories of 2021. The South Korean show took the world by storm shortly after its debut on September 17th. It has since topped the Netflix charts in multiple countries, including the US. In fact, Squid Game is now on pace to pass Bridgerton as the most-watched Netflix original show of all time. The show has been a pleasant surprise for viewers, and it’s definitely a smash hit. But it has been a life-altering nuisance for one person in South Korea. There’s a phone number that serves as a key plot point early on in Squid Game — the only problem is that the number connects to a person in the real world.

Squid Game features someone’s real phone number

In the first episode of Squid Game, Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae) receives a business card with a phone number on it. By calling that number, Gi-hun can to take part in a series of games that could make him rich. According to Reuters, that phone number belongs to Kim Gil-young, a South Korean woman who runs a business in the southeastern county of Seongju.

Last month, Kim spoke to South Korea’s Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS). She said that she would not change her number because she would lose all of her client contacts. The woman said she had already declined an offer of 1 million won ($840) to change it. She has since been offered up to 5 million won ($4,183).

What it’s like to have your number in a huge TV show

The owner of the number also discussed the issue in an interview with Money Today (via Koreaboo):

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.

Thankfully for the victim, Netflix is aware of the problem and has now promised to edit the scene in question. “Together with the production company, we are working to resolve this matter, including editing scenes with phone numbers where necessary,” Netflix said in a statement.

This was an accident, but Netflix might have done more than just annoy one woman. The company might have broken the law. As Koreaboo explains, revealing someone’s personal information is against the law in South Korea. That includes sharing their phone number with millions of viewers.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.