The dystopian series sees hundreds of people who are experiencing the misery of financial ruin, invited to an undisclosed location where they play childhood games in a bid to win a billion-dollar-prize. The rules are clear: if they lose, they die.
When protagonist Ki-hun flashes his games invitation card, an 8-digit number is seen. That number, however, just so happens to belong to a South Korean woman who says she has been bombarded with calls and messages from strangers ever since the show first premiered.
"I've been unceasingly getting calls and texts 24/7 to the point where my daily life has become difficult," said Kim Gil-young, a dessert shop owner who has used the number for 10 years.
She explained that the flood of calls during the day and night was constantly depleting her cellphone battery.
"I've had to delete more than 4,000 numbers," she said, adding that she was "quite taken aback" by the whole experience, which has resulted in some people swearing at her over the phone and others telling her about their financial woes.
"I'm trying to participate in Squid Game, is it possible?" read one text shared by SBS News.
"This is not Squid Game. I sell handmade sugar-free sweet bean jellies," Kim replied.
Netflix said on Wednesday: "Together with the production company, we are working to resolve this matter, including editing scenes with phone numbers where necessary."
Others who share similar phone numbers have also been experiencing the same woes as the woman from Seongju County in South Korea's North Gyeongsang Province.
One woman, whose personal number is just two digits different to the one shown in the series, told The Wall Street Journal that she had been receiving random calls since the show launch - some from as far as Colombia.
While some callers hang-up instantly, others demand to know: "Is this Squid Game?"
The show's director, Hwang Dong-hyuk, began writing the series as a screenplay more than a decade ago. It took just ten days for the series to rise to the number 1 spot in 90 countries - putting it on track to become Netflix's most watched program to date.
"We've never seen anything grow as fast and aggressive as 'Squid Game,'" said Minyoung Kim, Netflix's Vice President of Content across several locations including Korea and South East Asia.
On social media, some questioned how it was possible that the film-giant had not checked the number or used a fake one before releasing the series.
"They actually used someone's real number?" questioned one user, while many others expressed sympathy for those caught up in the debacle.
Some, appeared to find the phone-number frenzy somewhat entertaining, with one fan tweeting: "I say let them play."
Netflix did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Published : October 08, 2021
By : The Washington Post