Netflix‘s Korean reality dating show Single’s Inferno is everyone’s latest guilty pleasure.
The series follows a group of sexy and single Koreans who are learning to survive (and love) on a deserted island. It’s quite similar to other hit dating shows such as Love Island and Too Hot to Handle.
Naturally, it’s become a hit among Netflix subscribers. Some of the contestants on the show although, not so much…
Fans of Single’s Inferno have been particularly mixed on Oh Jin Taek.
At first, viewers loved him as he began forming a relationship with fan-favorite Kang So Yeon. We fell in love with them as they seemingly fell in love with each other…
That is until Jin Taek suddenly chose to go to “Paradise” with another girl the next episode after he promised So Yeon that he wouldn’t. You see, on Single’s Inferno, the deserted island is referred to as “Inferno.” There, the couples mingle until they develop reciprocated feelings. Upon matching, the couples are awarded alone time at a luxurious hotel called “Paradise.”
Jin Taek is officially out of my fav list..my girl Soyeon deserves someone better smh
— Dianne #LetLeniLead2022 (@the____yan) December 25, 2021
— min⁷🕊 (@ughseokk) December 25, 2021
However, his “betrayal” is not the only thing that viewers are criticizing him for. His actions while off the island have caused a stir among netizens.
Since the beginning of the series, viewers of Single’s Inferno were able to find the contestants’ Instagram accounts. Despite the show keeping the cast’s information, such as occupation, a mystery until they enter “Paradise,” it was easy to look up everyone since their full names were always disclosed.
On Instagram, Jin Taek identifies himself as “Oh Jin Taek Bruno” (@timelessbruno). Naturally, he gives off rich CEO vibes.
Upon first glance, nothing seems sus about his account. He mainly posts photos that promote his own British-style tailored suit brand, Ascottage.
Still, upon further inspection, netizens have found something problematic in a few captions. It’s his emoji usage.
Emojis? Seems pretty innocent. Right?
Well… Not so much.
In a recent Instagram post celebrating the new year with Netflix, he included a black-skinned man emoji at the end of his caption. Considering he’s Korean and not black, netizens found his choice of emoji perplexing.
Some attempted to give him the benefit of the doubt. With the slip of the finger, one could easily accidentally select the wrong skin color of emoji when selecting. One could even suggest it was the closest thing he found that resembles him.
But emoji choices have become increasingly diverse in recent years with a wider range of skin and hair colors. As he is tanned with dark hair, there are definitely a couple of choices to choose from.
Many pointed out an emoji that is both brown-skinned with brown hair resembles Jin Taek much more than the black-skinned and black-haired emoji.
Fans were disappointed but willing to forgive based on a one-time mishap, but the issue was that it wasn’t a one-time mistake.
Jin Taek had previously used other black-skinned emojis for his older posts. This means he intentionally selects this emoji or automatically has it set to this color, especially since the default remains the general yellow emojis.
It remains consistent. The various emojis used, whether people or hands are black.
This trend of his could be seen as far back as 2019…
…all the way through 2020, 2021, and now.
He also has an Instagram Stories highlight for his body profile photoshoots simply titled by the flexed biceps emoji in the same dark skin tone.
This emoji issue raises another question on some underlying issues. Colorism in South Korea remains a hot topic.
this a big problem over there bc they'll deadass use brown or darksin emojis even if they got a light tan 😭 this what colorism convincing them of
— V OST⁷ (@AEGISJOON) January 4, 2022
In 2018, The Daily Dot published an article titled “The problem with emoji skin tones that no one talks about.” Writer Jason Reed wrote, “Five options were never going to be the answer to a lack of representation.”
Friends across South and East Asia told me that their decisions about emoji use with friends and family from the region were governed by the colorism that is rife across the region. Fair skin is still perceived as the most beautiful ideal to aim for, and as a result, discrimination against darker-skinned people is sadly commonplace. In response to that colorism, people I spoke to told me that they deliberately choose darker-skinned emoji to take a stand against the perception of not wanting darker skin. Juliana Harsianti, a journalist from Indonesia, told me she chooses the dark brown skin tone in response to the colorism she sees in her region. ‘I want to show, at least to my circle of friends, that I’m proud to have dark skin,’ she told the Daily Dot.
— The Daily Dot
Even on Single’s Inferno, Jin Taek was acknowledged as not necessarily fitting the Korean beauty standards despite being muscular and handsome (this was the criteria for casting, after all). Many speculated that he was foreign at first due to his tanned complexion, body hair, and persona.
So, in a society that considers “white” and “pure” synonymous, does a tanned man like Jin Taek believe he is so tanned he must be considered black?
Some suspect that he may be referred to as “black” in Korea. So, he opts for the darker emoji to reflect what he’s been told.
This is, of course, only speculation. Still, it produces a needed conversation.
Jin Taek’s comment section began to include comments inquiring about his choice of emoji. Whether related or not, he has since limited the comments section of his posts.
Jin Taek’s interesting choice of emoji usage is not the only thing fans have noticed since following his Instagram. Others spotted a possible lovstagram. Read about it here: