The backlash in South Korea has been so severe to Single’s Inferno star Song Ji-A admitting she wore fake designer clothing that she released a solemn YouTube apology and has been edited out of another upcoming TV show episode.
The Netflix reality dating show became one of the most globally-viewed TV shows in just a few short months after release, and made Song, 25, one of the biggest stars of this year.
But The Manager, a popular Korean variety show by the same creators of the original program that The Masked Singer is based on, removed Song from an upcoming appearance after the actor acknowledged that she’d worn knockoff Dior and other counterfeit designer goods on Single’s Inferno.
“After mutual discussion with the guest, we have decided not to air Song Ji A’s footage,” read a statement released by The Manager, published by Soompi, an English-language site focused on Korean pop culture. “We will do our best to show a better side of ‘The Manager’ to viewers who support and love the program.”
Miyoung Jo, a marketing representative from MBC America, said that viewers don’t want to see Song on TV right now. While she predicts people will forgive the influencer eventually, Miyoung said, she suspects Korean audiences will not support her as much as they did previously.
"In the US, people are more open-minded," she told BuzzFeed News. "But I think Koreans are thinking, She deceived us, etc. For me, I really don't care about this issue, ‘cause it's her life."
Song, a YouTuber who is known as Freezia online, first became famous for her high-end fashion and lifestyle content. Many fans took her acknowledgment that she wore counterfeit goods w as a betrayal of the lifestyle she’d advertised, proof she was as fake as her Chanel sweater.
“She's a great example of what happens when a cheap person tries to act like they're more luxurious than they are,” one person wrote in a fan forum.
As the backlash continued, Song deleted all posts from her Instagram, minus her handwritten apology note. On Monday, she published a video apology on YouTube — now the only video on her channel — in which she sits alone on a sofa and faces the camera, her voice nearly a whisper.
“I admit that everything is my fault,” Song said, asking for the public to stop criticizing her family. “When I think about my past self, I think about how pathetic I was. I should have reflected deeply inward when people were rooting for me — but I was too focused on the physical portrayal of Song Ji-A. I am so sorry.”
Others have come out in support. “This is the SILLIEST controversy I’ve ever seen in my life!! I hope she uploads again, social media was literally her job,” a comment read under a TikTok explaining the situation.
Song is supposed to appear in a Jan. 23 episode of Knowing Bros, another Korean variety show. The producers said they had wanted to cut her out, but it was too late to reedit the episode, and that removing her would've meant another guest would be edited out as well.
“Due to these kinds of reasons, we edited and aired part of our footage, and we edited out as much of Song Ji A’s footage as we could without breaking the flow of the program itself,” they told Soompi.
Song’s agency, Hyowon CNC, released an official statement addressing the several rumors surrounding the influencer’s lifestyle, including speculation that it had purchased the luxury apartment where Song filmed her YouTube videos to pad her “young and rich” reputation.
“There was no financial support other than supporting creators in the usual management categories,” they said.
Her agency also addressed videos from Song’s YouTube channel featuring designer products being removed, which had viewers questioning if the goods in them were also fake.
“The reason why the luxury haul video was made private on Freezia’s YouTube channel was not because the fake product was introduced as genuine, but because the accessories she was wearing were fake products, so the entire video was made private,” they said. “Until now, Freezia had never introduced a fake good as a luxury product.”
The news about Song’s fake clothes has been huge in Korea. Multiple bizzare mini scandals around it have also broken out. Kim Hyeon-Joong, who was Song’s final pairing on Single’s Inferno, stepped forward to clarify in an interview that him unfollowing her on Instagram did not have to do with her fake designer clothes.
More recently, some Korean fans were outraged when an old vlog resurfaced on Bili Bili (a Chinese video platform similar to YouTube); in the video, Song mentions that she is eating kimchi, a Korean fermented cabbage side dish. But the Chinese subtitles read “pao cai,” a Chinese pickled side dish. “Kimchi must be called kimchi no matter where you are in the world,” wrote one popular comment under the now-deleted video.
Song’s agency issued an apology, and all content has been removed from her Bili Bili channel.
Just weeks ago, Song was the darling of Twitter for her charismatic persona on Single's Inferno. "It seems the internet has thrown my sincerity into question," she said in her apology video.