"Squid Game" fans harass a gamer whose name is causing confusion with Netflix's hit show

A UK woman found her livelihood and privacy threatened once the South Korean series became a global hit

By Trish Rooney

Published November 3, 2021 8:12PM (EDT)

Kim Joo-ryung as Han Mi-nyeo in "Squid Game" (Netflix/YOUNGKYU PARK)
Kim Joo-ryung as Han Mi-nyeo in "Squid Game" (Netflix/YOUNGKYU PARK)

This Halloween, Netflix's "Squid Game" inspired some of the most popular costumes for the young and old; whether it was as a guard or a player, devotees of the series were out in full force. 

Online however, the fans are less loving. 

Twitch streamer Lydia Ellery from the U.K., who has over 42,000 followers and has been active on the platform for 11 years, has recently been inundated with hate comments on her social media accounts from "Squid Game" fans. 

The reason? Her handle is @SquidGame. 

In an interview with the BBC, Ellery explained, "For me it was was just a silly name I thought up on the spot. My friends called me 'squid' because it rhymes with 'lid,' and my name is Lydia."

Deprived of @SquidGame proper, Netflix promotes the show through its own official account, which has caused confusion for fans looking for the show's unique social handles. Instead, they found Ellery. "Because the show doesn't have an official Instagram account, I was flooded with people tagging me or sending me messages thinking I was the show." 

The messages have also turned hateful from fans who think that Ellery stole the handle from the show and has been cybersquatting. With the extra attention on her account name now, Ellery has been kicked out of her accounts multiple times by hackers trying to get the handle.

Ellery's income is at risk as well: brands and sponsors have told her that they're not working with her because of the confusion caused by her handle, with Ellery herself writing on Twitter that she lost "2 amazing presenting opportunities" due to the association. 

https://twitter.com/SquidGaming/status/1455502240446390283

Now, Ellery is considering changing the name she's used to create her brand for over a decade, but it doesn't feel like much of a choice, explaining on Twitter that she's been sent abuse, banned, and now is losing work.

Other fan communities on Twitch have been just as vitriolic to mainly female streamers, including targeted harassment campaigns, doxxing, and hacking that became known as "Gamergate" in 2014 and 2015. Platforms still have a long way to go to protect all creators, including female-presenting ones, from targeted attacks such as the one Ellery is facing. 


Trish Rooney

Trish Rooney is an Editorial Intern with Salon and a graduate journalism student at New York University. Follow her on Twitter @trishroooney.

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