As Squid Game continues to be a record-breaking international phenomenon, the Netflix series‘ anti-capitalist messaging is spurring real-world action thanks to a recent protest in South Korea. According to reports, over 27,000 people took to the streets in Seoul, where members of the South Korean Confederation of Trade Unions donned Squid Game costumes as they rallied for improved working conditions. The union members were reportedly inspired by the characters on the Netflix series who compete in childhood games with a deadly twist to better their lives.
“They too are struggling to make a living,” tweeted Lim Yun Suk from Channel News Asia, who shared video from the protest below:
Several union workers dressed in #SquidGames outfit take part in a rally in #Seoul, saying just like in the movie they too are struggling to make a living. They called on the government to improve workers’ rights. Some reports say about 30,000 took part in the rally. pic.twitter.com/tus8vj9KeG
— LIM Yun Suk (@yunsukCNA) October 20, 2021
During the protest, workers revealed that Squid Game was very difficult to watch because the experiences mirrored their own. Via Insider:
“In ‘Squid Game,’ you see characters scrambling to survive after being laid off at work, struggling to operate fried chicken diners or working as ‘daeri’ drivers,” a rental service where drivers take drunk people home in their own cars, Lee added. “That reminded me of my co-workers who died.”
Created by South Korean filmmaker Hwang Dong-hyuk, who struggled for a decade to sell the series because network execs found the scenarios “too implausible,” Squid Game became an international hit after Netflix took a gamble, which paid off huge. It also didn’t hurt that Donald Trump became president, which sadly, made the show’s dark conditions more realistic.
“It’s almost like he’s running a game show, not a country, like giving people horror,” Dong-hyuk told IndieWire. “After all these issues happened, I thought it was about time that this show goes out into the world.”