As the controversy over hit K-Drama Squid Game‘s leaked phone number wages on, one presidential candidate has offered to purchase the number for 100 times Netflix‘s original offer.
In Squid Game, the catalyst that pulls all 456 players into the dark battle royale competition is calling a phone number on the back of an invitation card. While it’s typical to use fake phone numbers when producing television show props, that unfortunately wasn’t the case with Squid Game.
Following the K-Drama’s release, the owner of the real phone number used on the show found herself inundated with calls from over 4,000 viewers. “I have been receiving calls and texts endlessly,” she revealed to the media, “to the point that it’s hard for me to go on with daily life.”
The situation later took a turn for the worst after the Netflix production team gave the affected woman a disappointing resolution: “change your number.” To sweeten the response, they also offered her a measly compensation amount of just ₩1.00 million KRW (about $847 USD). However, since the phone number is tied to the woman’s small business and she’s been using it for almost two decades, giving up the number is out of the question.
The production crew later upped the compensation offer to ₩5.00 million KRW (about $4,240 USD), insisting that it would be impossible for them to remove the phone number from the K-Drama. But now, there’s a new offer on the table: a presidential candidate is offering to buy the phone number for ₩100 million KRW (about $84,700 USD).
Huh Kyung Young is the honorary chief of the National Revolutionary Dividends Party in South Korea—a party aligned with social conservatism and Korean nationalist ideology. After announcing his bid for presidency just last month, Huh Kyung Young recently issued a statement on Facebook offering to buy the phone number after hearing the owner is suffering from prank calls.
I heard that the owner of the phone number showed on a business card in Squid Game is suffering serious damage from prank calls. I would like to buy the number for 100 million won.
— Huh Kyung Young
If the proposition sounds like a crazy way of drawing in voters, it may make more sense when you learn of Huh Kyung Young’s overall manifesto. The “Dividends” part of the party’s name, for example, comes for their pledge to pay ₩1.50 million KRW (about $1,270 USD) to all adult citizens of South Korea, as well as ₩30.0 million KRW (about $25,400 USD) for childbirth.
Huh himself was once banned from politics for 10 years for defamation. On top of that, he released a digital single which sampled Inspector Gadget‘s theme song in 2009. In the Seoul mayoral by-election this past April, he came in third place.
In the meantime, the Squid Game production team reports that they’re still trying to reach a conclusion with the owner of the number through various meetings. As of yet, no satisfactory resolution has been found.