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Netflix Slammed For Underpaying South Korean Actors In Viral Hits Like Squid Game

There's one show from the past few years that every Netflix user will be well aware of, whether they watched it or not, and that's "Squid Game." The most-watched Netflix original series of all time saw hundreds of cash-strapped citizens playing a deadly series of life-or-death children's games in hopes of winning a massive cash prize.

However, it would seem that South Korean actors are also having a difficult time getting their residuals paid by Netflix itself. As SAG-AFTRA continues to fight for better rights and proper compensation Stateside, Song Chang-gon, the president of the Korea Broadcasting Actors Union, can't even get a meeting with the streamer.

"One of their first priorities when entering the local market should be to establish some channel of communication with groups like us," Song told the Los Angeles Times. "But there's no answer at all." In fact, Song explained that it was a challenge even to get a hold of a representative from Netflix to have a conversation in the first place.

South Korean actors are seeking residuals for their Netflix shows

Considering how popular shows like "Extraordinary Attorney Woo," "All of Us Are Dead," and "Sweet Home" have been for the streaming service, it might seem surprising that South Korean actors are struggling to get a meeting with Netflix. Kim Ju-ho, the secretary-general of the organization, even noted that the Korea Broadcasting Actors Union waited until Korean shows had taken off on Netflix to even approach them about getting residuals. 

"A precondition for that conversation about residuals was Netflix's business successfully taking off here," said Kim."Netflix has made a lot of money from South Korean content. It's now time to meet." Though Netflix declined to comment on the story itself, the company did say through a written statement that because they're a streamer and not a broadcaster that they are not required to pay residuals to actors.

Still, with a rise in foreign entertainment expected to help fill the void while SAG-AFTRA continues to strike for a better deal, streaming services like Netflix may start to feel the squeeze from multiple sides as other markets also seek more fair and lucrative compensation.