From Bridgerton to Stranger Things, Netflix has released a number of shows that quickly became smash hits. Viewers relied on the streaming service even more during the pandemic, turning several series into instant favorites. And on Sept. 17, Netflix released what may be its biggest series yet, Squid Game. But as more and more viewers binge watch this nine-episode Korean drama, Netflix has announced that it is cutting one thing from the series following a significant error. Read on to find out what is being changed effective immediately.
Netflix’s hottest new show, a Korean drama called Squid Game, has resulted in a series of prank calls, Reuters reported. The show is centered around people competing in violent versions of children’s games to win a large sum of money. To take part in the competition, contestants have to call a phone number that appears on a business card printed with symbols. But while the game is pure fiction, the number is not. A South Korean women says her actual phone number was shown, resulting in her being inundated with thousands of prank calls and text messages.
“I’ve been unceasingly getting calls and texts 24/7 to the point where my daily life has become difficult … I’ve had to delete more than 4,000 numbers,” Kim Gil-young, a dessert shop owner who says she has used the number for 10 years, told the national South Korean television and radio network company SBS, per The Washington Post. Kim added that she’s even been cursed out over the phone because of the show, but she is unable to change her number due to client contacts.
On Oct. 6, both Netflix and the show’s local production company Siren Pictures said they would resolve the problem by cutting out the phone number. “Together with the production company, we are working to resolve this matter, including editing scenes with phone numbers where necessary,” Netflix said in a statement, adding that it is asking fans to refrain from sending prank calls and messages. According to The Guardian, the eight-digit number that appears in the first two episodes of the show had already been replaced with a six-digit version by Oct. 7. Now, when called, this number produces an automated response that says, “The number you have dialed is not available.”
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According to Reuters, Netflix and Siren said that they had deliberately only shown part of the phone number to avoid this situation. But the final eight digits of the mobile number appeared onscreen originally, and when dialed, the South Korean standard prefix 010 automatically loads to generate a real phone number. The streaming service and production company said they were unaware this would happen. Typically, the Korean Film Council offers moviemakers screen numbers that are not used in the real world to prevent the opportunity for prank calls, but shows released on over-the-top (OTT) streaming services such as Netflix do not have access to this service, Reuters reported.
Squid Game rose to Netflix’s No. 1 spot in 90 countries in just 10 days, according to The Washington Post. This puts it on track to become the streaming service’s most-watched program to date. “We’ve never seen anything grow as fast and aggressive as Squid Game,” Minyoung Kim, Netflix’s vice president of content across several locations, including Korea and Southeast Asia, told The Wall Street Journal.
In terms of making things right amid the show’s success, Reuters reported that Gil-young Kim had declined an offer of 1 million won, or $840, in compensation for Netflix’s error, while SBS reported that she has since been offered compensation of up to 5 million won. Best Life reached out to Netflix for comment, but the company declined to comment on alleged compensation reports.
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