A widely popular Korean webtoon has come under scrutiny for its recent episode that ignited accusations of racism.
Problematic panels: “Get Schooled,” which has over 99 million views on Webtoon, drew controversy over the introduction of a mixed-race character in its latest installment.
Episode 125 features Hwang Ho-jun, a middle school student residing in a countryside town with a diverse population identifying himself as the sole “pure” Korean in his class.
In the same episode, Lee Muk-hyun, a school bully, is described as Korean Ethiopian with a “massive physique.”
Several unsettling moments are featured throughout the episode. For example, a group of high school students are seen subjecting the bully to racial slurs that are equivalent to the N-word, culminating in a physical altercation. Lee is then depicted mocking other students who have been forced to act like monkeys.
Social media backlash: The episode’s release prompted widespread outrage among fans who found its content offensive.
On Monday, a fan on TikTok, user @rin.joestar, expressed her disappointment and disbelief in a video that has since garnered over 21,000 likes, lamenting that she had been a long-time fan and follower of the webtoon.
Webtoon responds: In response to @rin.joestar’s TikTok video, the official Webtoon account made a series of comments vowing to remove the episode.
“The racist content has been removed from our platform, and the episode is currently in review,” the comment read. “Racism or racist content have no place on WEBTOON. It should not have been published, and we apologize to anyone who encountered it or harm it caused to the incredible WEBTOON community. The content depicted in this episode does not align with WEBTOON’s values and is absolutely not something we stand for.”
Following the backlash, the creators of “Get Schooled,” Yongtaek Chae and Garam Han, issued an apology
to acknowledge that they had failed to “recognize how certain expressions are racist.” The creators have since edited and removed the offensive content from the episode and put the series on hiatus in the U.S. as they commit to learning more about “past and present racial discrimination, and the history of racist representations.”