‘Squid Game’ Filipino actor says racist cabbage-throwing incident in South Korea left him ‘crying inside’

‘Squid Game’ Filipino actor says racist cabbage-throwing incident in South Korea left him ‘crying inside’

November 1, 2021
Christian Lagahit, the actor behind Player #276 of “Squid Game,” shared his experience as a foreign worker in South Korea in an interview video posted to YouTube last week. 
The racist incident: On Oct. 23, South Korea-based Asian Boss posted their interview video of Filipino actor Lagahit on their official YouTube channel.
  • In the interview, Lagahit recalls a Korean woman in her 50s throwing a cabbage at his face while on a small village bus ride home.
Subscribe to
NextShark's Newsletter

A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.

Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.

Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.

  • “There was this woman who was just staring at me. At first, I didn’t pay attention because I thought she was maybe looking at the boys, because there were boys in front of me. I thought that she was looking at the students. A few minutes passed by… I was just surprised when something hit my face. She threw a cabbage at my face — straight to my face,” Lagahit shares.
  • His glasses fell off and were broken by the impact. Another woman on the bus explained to him that the cabbage thrower wanted him to get off the bus because he was not Korean. Lagahit says that there are no foreigner buses in Korea and the ride he was on was the last trip home.
  • “The hardest part was that no one was paying attention to me. There were a lot of people inside the bus. It was filled, but no one was there to at least help me,” Lagahit says in the video.
  • “I was crying inside. For me, there was nothing I could do anymore. I couldn’t complain, but what I didn’t understand was there were other people inside that small bus. I just felt so bad that no one was ready to help,” he adds.
  • The woman also went on to verbally attack him. Lagahit recalls her saying, “All foreigners here in Korea are bad people!”
  • When the host asks if discrimination in South Korea is common, Lagahit admits to hearing other foreigners’ stories of prejudice and poor treatment. He also recalls a time when Korean locals did not want to sit next to him on another bus.
The foreign actor: Along with Anupam Tripathi, the actor behind Player #199 Ali Abdul, Lagahit also played the role of a migrant worker from Pakistan.
  • He moved to Korea from the Philippines in 2015 as an English teacher. Lagahit also had part-time gigs acting in films such as “Space Sweepers” and “The Negotiation.”
  • The actor originally auditioned for the character of Ali before landing Player 276. He believes that the story of Ali reflects the real lives of many migrant workers in Korea. “There’s still a lot of foreign workers out there who get the same treatment the way Ali had on the drama ‘Squid Game,’” Lagahit tells Asian Boss. “I hope that this would be a wake-up call for the government to also check the welfare of foreign workers here in Korea because I believe that the foreign workers are contributing a lot for the growth of this country.”
  • He also says he hopes that the success of “Squid Game” will open doors for foreign actors to play roles other than that of factory workers or background characters.
  • “I’ve seen some non-Koreans achieving success here in Korea, but most of those people are from the U.S. or Europe,” Lagahit says. “It’s about time Asian people, non-Korean people, can also succeed and achieve those big dreams here. At the end of the day, everyone is allowed to dream big. If those white people can, we also can.”
Featured Image via @chrisyan8 (left), Asian Boss (right)
      Michelle De Pacina

      Michelle De Pacina is a New York-based Reporter for NextShark




      Many people might not know this, but NextShark is a small media startup that runs on no outside funding or loans, and with no paywalls or subscription fees, we rely on help from our community and readers like you.

      Everything you see today is built by Asians, for Asians to help amplify our voices globally and support each other. However, we still face many difficulties in our industry because of our commitment to accessible and informational Asian news coverage.

      We hope you consider making a contribution to NextShark so we can continue to provide you quality journalism that informs, educates, and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for supporting NextShark and our community.

      © 2023 NextShark, Inc. All rights reserved.