Oli London apologizes to BTS’ Jimin, Asian community for ‘unhealthy’ obsession

0
6

British personality Oli London has apologized to BTS member Jimin and the larger Asian community for their “unhealthy” obsession with the K-pop idol that has led to nearly three dozen plastic surgeries.

London, 32, who identifies as a genderfluid, transgender woman using they/them pronouns, rose in popularity in 2018 after appearing in a documentary series that highlights how much they spent to go under the knife to look like Jimin.

Since then, London has dealt with widespread criticism, including allegations of racism and cultural appropriation. In February, they caused an uproar after announcing a plan to undergo penis reduction surgery to become “100 percent Korean.”

In May, London defended their “transracial” identity to a Black woman who asserted that they cannot be Korean no matter “how much surgery you do” or “how much of the aesthetic you adopt.” To this, London replied, “I’m Korean, people need to accept that.”

More from NextShark: Enes Kanter Freedom criticized for saying Jeremy Lin is ‘disgusting’ for ‘turning his back’ on Taiwan

Despite years of backlash, London managed to brand themself as a singer and actor. They have released several singles since 2019 and starred in a partially fictionalized short titled “Gangnam Beauty,” which was screened at International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam last year.

London, however, appears to be set for change. On Sunday, they posted an apology video on YouTube directed at Jimin and the larger Asian community for what they described as “overly obsessive behavior.”

[embedded content]

In a statement, London traced their obsession with Jimin and plastic surgery to their experiences of being bullied in their childhood. They recalled suffering from various skin conditions and hearing people calling them names on a daily basis, which eventually caused them to “withdraw from society, to feel isolated and to feel like an alien.”

More from NextShark: Thai YouTuber wows internet with huge origami city and working train system made entirely of paper

“I just wanted to cut my whole face off and be a different person, someone beautiful and someone with confidence,” London said. “At age 23, I moved to Korea and lived there for one year, and this changed me completely as a person forever.”

Relocating to South Korea led London to the heart of the Hallyu wave. The year was 2013, and a seven-member boy group from a then-relatively unknown entertainment label, Big Hit, had just debuted.

“I found solace and happiness in K-Pop and Korean culture,” London recalled. “It gave me an escape from reality, and I funneled all of my attention and love into someone whom I greatly admired and idolized — Park Jimin.”

More from NextShark: Students report that crying during exams activates schools’ anti-cheat software

From there, London would undergo 32 cosmetic surgeries in hopes of resembling Jimin. They said they changed their entire life thinking they could “become as beautiful and as talented as Jimin.”

“But I have finally come to realize this was WRONG and UNHEALTHY,” London said. “I have now realized that I can never become another person except a better version of myself.”

London, who married 19-year-old Danny Richardson in June, said their apology is coming after undergoing therapy and “a great period of self-reflection.”

“I apologize wholeheartedly to Jimin, to BTS, to ARMY and all the Asian community who may have found my obsession ‘too much,’ ‘creepy’ or ‘unhealthy.’ I was simply trying to become someone I idolized, which I’m sure is something many K-Pop fans can relate to,” London continued. “I will always love Jimin and admire him; however I am now taking accountability for my past behavior that I have come to see was not healthy or normal and I promise I will do better and change as a person.”

While apologizing for their actions, London maintained that they still identify as “transracially” Korean. They also expressed hopes that they would be awarded honorary Korean citizenship.

“I want to deeply apologize from the bottom of my heart to any member of the Asian community who has ever misunderstood, or misinterpreted my extreme love of Asia and Asian culture. I generally do identify as Korean and transracial, and this is how I feel inside, but I never want to ever cause offense or for people to think that I do not acknowledge the lived experiences and many struggles Asian people face on a daily basis,” London explained.

They ended their statement by acknowledging the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes across the U.S. since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, “it breaks my heart every time I see an Asian person or anyone attacked just because of their race.”

“I always use my voice to speak up for Asian causes and dedicate a lot of my time to helping the Asian community and vow to continue doing this through using my platform to do good and help others that need help.”

Featured Image via Oli London