‘Transracial’ influencer Oli London apologises to BTS’ Jimin and Asian community for ‘wrong and unhealthy’ behaviour
- Oli London, a white influencer who claims to have had 32 plastic surgeries to look more Korean, posted a video saying the behaviour was ‘obsessive’
- London hopes to one day become an honorary Korean citizen and ‘live as a legally recognised Korean’
Oli London, a white British influencer who said they had 32 plastic surgeries to look more like BTS band member Park Ji-min, has apologised to the singer and to the Asian community, saying their behaviour was “obsessive” and “wrong and unhealthy”.
London, who has 1 million TikTok followers and uses “they” and “them” pronouns, had previously faced backlash and criticism from experts and academics for saying they identify as Korean.
The 32-year-old influencer has publicly said they have undergone eye surgery, liposuction, penis-reduction surgery and other procedures to “look more Korean”.
Members of the Asian community have said they thought London’s surgeries promoted racist stereotypes about Koreans, accusing London of cultural appropriation.
On August 29, London posted a YouTube video titled “Apology Video (My Apology to Jimin & the Asian Community)”.
“It was wrong of me to try to emulate Jimin in such an obsessive way,” London said. “I can’t be another person, I just need to love myself.”
London said they suffered bullying at school, which led to self-esteem issues, and when they discovered Park they saw him as the “path to happiness” and tried to “become” him.
London said they had no “bad intentions” but they “realise now it wasn’t the right thing to do”.
In an interview with Newsweek and SWNS in early August, London said they were paying for their husband, Danny Richardson, 19, to undergo plastic surgery to look like Jimin.
London went on to say they still “identify as Korean”.
London said they consider themselves to be “transracial” – a term they have used to describe themselves many times in the past.
The statement went on to say they hope to become an honorary Korean citizen and “live as a legally recognised Korean”.
London also said they had been going to therapy to deal with an “addiction to plastic surgery”.
“I changed my entire life thinking I could become as beautiful and as talented as Jimin. But I have finally come to realise this was wrong and unhealthy,” London said.
The concept of being “transracial” is highly disputed.
In July 2021, Braden Hill and Stevie Lane from Edith Cowan University in Australia wrote that the term is “a prime example of racism”.
They wrote that a person cannot identify as “transracial” in the same way people identify as transgender, because a person does not inherit their gender in the way they inherit their race.
While the video received some support in the comments, many viewers criticised it, saying they did not think London should have apologised while maintaining that they identify as Korean.
“You can love Korea and recognise what its culture has done for you (which I am genuinely happy for you) but that doesn’t make you Korean,” one top comment with over 500 likes said.