A Korean man is currently being inundated with calls from people who, presumably, want him to murder them for playing Red Rover poorly. What else are we to make of this story from the South China Morning Post, which reports that a man in South Korea is receiving something like 4,000 calls a day, all because he has the phone number listed on one of the ominous business cards in new Netflix hit Squid Game?
And, to be clear: Somebody probably should have checked that the phone number the show flashes for its mysterious organization (which offers people millions of dollars in exchange for playing games like “Red Light, Green Light” and Tug-Of-War with lethal stakes) was not attached to an actual phone before the series launched. (In this case, one that’s apparently been in service, and connected to this guy’s business, for at least a decade.)
But also: Who are these people calling the damn number? Even beyond the whole “fantasy vs. reality” thing—a nebulous concept, at best, at this point—Squid Game goes out of its way to make it clear that participating in the games is functionally equivalent to handing your life into the care of a rigged, hostile system and then praying to win the lottery. (Which is also, of course, the point of its quietly cruel satire of the capitalist system.)
The man in question says he’s been getting absolutely buried in calls, many of them from young people explicitly asking to be put into the games. Netflix has stated that it’s working with Squid Game’s production company to reach out to the owner of the number and resolve the issue—although he’s also apparently been offered roughly $84,000 for the number by a local politician, which adds a whole other bizarre socio-political angle to this whole story.