'Stop Being So Ignorant': Spielberg Under Fire After Referring to ‘Squid Game’ Actors as 'Unknown'
© AP Photo / Chris PizzelloFILE - Filmmaker Steven Spielberg poses at the 2019 "An Unforgettable Evening" benefiting the Women's Cancer Research Fund in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Feb. 28, 2019. Spielberg has set a new deal with Netflix in which his production company, Amblin Partners, will make multiple feature films per year for the streaming giant.
© AP Photo / Chris Pizzello
Steven Spielberg, the critically-acclaimed American director known for movies like Jaws, Jurassic Park, E.T. and the Indiana Jones film franchise, has found himself at the center of some major online backlash for calling Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ actors “unknown”.
“A long time ago it was domestic stars that brought the audience into movies,” Spielberg reportedly said. “Today, it’s interesting, unknown people can star in entire miniseries, can be in movies.
“Squid Game comes along and changes the math entirely for all of us,” he added, giving maybe, too much credit to Netflix’s co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos. “Thank you, Ted.” According to Deadline, Spielberg made the comments at a PGA Awards panel on March 19.
But the backhanded compliment the iconic American director, 75, paid towards the actors of the wildly popular 2021 South Korean production, ‘Squid Game’, has earned him some impressive backlash on social media.
‘Squid Game’ fans were quick to point out that the show’s actors are some of South Korea’s most well-known stars, including O Yeong-su who began acting in 1967. Actor Park Hae-soo has also became a household name in South Korea for the popular TV show drama ‘Prison Playbook’ (2017).
The show’s lead actor, Lee Jung-jae, is also a well-known actor, producer and businessperson in South Korean pop culture. He is known for acting in such Korean films as ‘An Affair’ (1998), ‘The Last Witness’ (2001), ‘Typhoon’ (2005), ‘The Thieves’ (2012) and ‘The Face Reader’ (2013).
“Americans always think the world doesn’t exist outside of America. They think everyone worships us when in reality they laugh at us. Actors, singers, politicians, scientists, doctors, lawyers, CEOs all exist in other countries. Stop being so ignorant,” tweeted one user.
Correction: “Squid Game” proves that Hollywood has been waaayyyyyy behind in recognizing and celebrating longstanding S. Korean Film/TV storytelling and talent. https://t.co/G2J36f9cbc— Nancy Wang Yuen (@nancywyuen) March 23, 2022
“Another day, another American thinking the world revolves around them,” tweeted another.
I think that if actors you call "unknown" aren't part of your culture, or that you lack multicultural exposure, heck, can't even google who they are, then you shouldn't have an opinion of whether they're known or not.— ggong crumbs 🍞 (@HANYUNJAES) March 22, 2022
Spielberg is one of America’s most successful directors and is said to have a net worth of $8 billion. His much-promoted recent film remake of the mid-20th century classic ‘West Side Story’ (2021) is up for seven nominations this year at the Oscars. In the wake of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, the ‘West Side Story’ redo reportedly raked in some $74.6 million at the box office.
Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ shocked and engrossed viewers with 1.65 billion hours streamed within the first 28 days of its premiere, more than any show released by Netflix to date.