*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.
An influencer who was born British and White and claimed to be "transracial" apologized to the Asian community and South Korean singer Jimin of BTS in a video opening up about their struggle with identity and being bullied.
Oli London said they identify as Korean and according to Newsweek, spent an estimated $250,000 on over 20 surgeries to look like the South Korean singer Park Ji-min–known mononymously as Jimin from BTS.
London told the media outlet in an interview back in January 2022:
"I don't want people to get offended by this, but in Korea, [the average] penis is like 3.5 inches, and I get trolled all the time."
"People say, 'Oh, you can't be Korean. You're not 100 percent Korean,' and I just want to be 100 percent Korean."
"I would even have a penis reduction so I'm, like, the Korean average."
"That's how far I'm willing to go. I can have it done in Thailand, and it will cost between $6,000 and $8,000."
They said they just wanted to be "100 percent Korean."
"My entire face will be Korean, I've done my chest. Like, what can I do next? I don't know."
On Sunday, London admitted their behavior was "obsessive" as well as "wrong and unhealthy."
London opened up about their traumatic childhood and struggle with identity in a lengthy letter and video.
"For the last few months, I have been undergoing therapy and rehabilitation to try to deal with my unhealthy behavior and addiction to Jimin and plastic surgery," said London.
You can watch the full video here:
London talked about how their obsession with the BTS singer stemmed from being unhappy on the inside and from constantly being bullied at school and made fun of for looking like "Shrek."
"I saw Jimin as a path to happiness. I really tried to model myself on that person because I thought that would really make me happy."
"I really just channeled all my love to him," said London, but then said they finally realized, "I can't become another person, and it was wrong of me to try to emulate Jimin in such an obsessive way."
"It was no bad intentions. It was just something to make me happy ... I've realized now that it wasn't the right thing to do."
"I want to take this chance upon reflection to apologize to Park Ji-min personally. I hope you know I love and adore you"
"I'm sorry if I seemed a bit too crazy, a little bit too obsessive, or a bit too much. I never meant to hurt you, Jimin."
In a lengthy letter, London said they had undergone therapy and rehabilitation to try and deal with their addiction to Jimin and plastic surgery.
They said they finally found a path towards self-acceptance and peace after finding a partner who loves them for who they are.
"Since I recently got married to my husband, who is my very own Jimin (and actually looks like him), I have finally found someone who loves and accepts me for who I am."
"I have been chasing this acceptance all my life and now that I have found it, it has made me a completely new person."
Although some showed compassion, commenters found it challenging to accept his apology.
"I know how bullying feels like, I've been bullied almost to the point of suicide," wrote one user.
"However, as an Asian, im neither accepting nor declining this apology, i mean, its great that youve realized the damage done, and ur going to therapy, cuz i know how therapy can really help u realize things in a different light."
Another user called him out for his cultural appropriation.
"I think this apology is a step in the right direction but there's still several issues you haven't addressed / recognized."
"1) identifying as another race is incredibly problematic that several Youtubers have broken down well. 2) your music videos and 'love of Korea' are crass and suggest otherwise."
"For example in one of them you are bathing in ramen / soy sauce, and in Heart of Korea you are literally wearing Japanese clothes."
"You also say ridiculous things like 'eating kimchi because that will make me more Korean.' These are some of the many examples of blatant disrespect you have shown towards our cultures."
"You can love Korea and recognize what it's culture has done for you (which I am genuinely happy for you) but that doesn't make you Korean."
This person felt London's apology was a missed opportunity.
"His doesn’t feel like an apology at all, it just feels like we’re watching someone throw a pity party by telling everyone their trauma while simultaneously sprinkling in how much they aren’t sorry about the actual issues they’re supposed to address."
In response to London saying they've done nothing wrong and were chalking up their behavior to an obsession with Jimin and K-pop because it made them happy, this YouTuber didn't buy it.
"Yah, NOTHING has changed here. Don't fall for this bull. 0 accountability."
"I'm also assuming half the 'trolls' are people with valid criticisms."
"The sheer level of gaslighting: 'I apologize to any member of the Asian community that has misinterpreted me.' Positively sickening."
There were plenty of harsh criticisms on Twitter.
Others, however, were more sympathetic and gave encouraging words for London.
"I never thought i would say this..but oli im actually proud of you. Thank you for apologising, everyone makes mistakes, its nice to know you have owned up to them."
"No one deserves to be bullied for their appearance. I am sure BTS and Jiminie will forgive and so will ARMYS. Its okay."
"I appreciate your honesty and hope you can become a better person. Love yourself, keep fighting! You can do it! :)"
"Oh hey, i actually thought this is another one of his videos but i honestly feel that he's being genuine. you have a long way to go to prove that you've finally changed not only for yourself but for the better."
"Of all the wrongs and hurts you've managed to inflict to numerous communities and race, this is definitely a step towards your enlightenment. thanks for this, oli."
Some Twitter users also responded positively.
It's impossible to change the past.
What London does going forward will show their sincerity more than anything they might say.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/