A British man is receiving backlash in South Korea over a racist comment he made on television and his subsequent behavior on social media.
Simon Burfiend, 25, is among the three main cast members of the latest season of “Welcome! First Time in Korea?” on MBC Every1, and easily became a crowd favorite.
But in the episode that aired on Jan. 18, thousands of viewers were disappointed over his response to another cast member while visiting a bakery in Seoul.
“This is very much like a bakery in the UK,” the other cast member commented.
Burfiend’s reply outraged South Koreans:
“Yes, this is quite civilized.”
Considering racist overtones associated with the word “civilized,” Burfiend immediately drew flak on social media over the past week, The Korea Times reported.
According to the outlet, some netizens were not necessarily offended, but many were still convinced that the term carries “a Eurocentric notion of progress and enlightenment and a racist connotation.”
Insight quoted some netizens as saying:
“‘Civilized’ is the expression white people use when looking at a third-world country.”
“This is the expression that Europe’s great powers used when they colonized Africa and Asia… They said, ‘We have to teach them and civilize them.’”
“It seems white people in developed countries look down and say, ‘This place still has to develop.’”
To make matters worse, Burfiend also drew flak after condoning racist comments on Instagram.
Some Korean fans apparently wrote to him in English after the episode aired, but his friends soon started mocking their English. One of them wrote:
“Hi Mr Simone big fan of u, much muscles on your bod so handysom peace look forward to next filming.”
Burfiend has since disabled the comments section after being called out. Sadly, he has yet to apologize for his “civilized” comment.
What do you think of Burfiend’s remarks? Share your thoughts in the comments below.