What Happened To Sam Okyere? “Canceled” TV Personality Makes Comeback For The First Time In Years
TV personality Sam Okyere was once one of the most popular foreigners in Korea. The Ghanaian man appeared on many television programs, including as a fixed cast member on the talk show Abnormal Summit, and was named in Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2017.
In 2020, Sam Okyere received major backlash after he addressed the Blackface performed by several students imitating a viral video. In a now-deleted Instagram post, he expressed his disappointment and desire to speak with those participating in the video.
He was then criticized for revealing the faces of underage children and using what netizens believed to be inappropriate hashtags.
After his apology, netizens also brought up other instances where they felt Sam had acted inappropriately, including when he was criticized for responding to a “sexualized” comment about actress Park Eun Hye.
Since then, netizens have not been open to Sam’s return to entertainment, reacting very harshly when the star opened a YouTube channel in 2021.
Recently, Sam returned to content in a new video posted by Jubilee about the experiences of Black people in Korea. Five people of Black descent were gathered to give their opinion on different issues for those in Korea, including model and actor Han Hyun Min.
For each statement given, each person would stand on a line to indicate if they agree or not. When the question of whether or not Korea has a strong cancel culture was brought up, all five people indicated that they strongly agree with the statement.
Sam spoke the most on this topic, saying he had been “unemployed for two years” and that he never saw the backlash he received coming.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that speaking on something that I felt like I was entitled to speak on would get me canceled so hard.
— Sam Okyere
In addition to this video, Sam also returned to Korean television, where he discussed being “canceled.” On the most recent episode of Trouble Cut Salon (aka 진격의 언니들), the personality apologized for the controversies he had been involved in.
Before we start talking more in-depth, I’d like to take a moment now and apologize again. I’m sorry for disappointing the people who liked me and supported me. I share my sincerest apologies with those people.
When I first shared an apology, it didn’t sit well with people. So I figured I should apologize again. But on the other hand, I got scared that I might keep saying the wrong things and continue to get misunderstood even more. And my friends advised me that I should stay down low. And that’s how everything blew up in my face.
— Sam Okyere on Trouble Cut Salon (aka 진격의 언니들)
He expressed deep regret for his actions and spoke about how his life changed immediately after the controversy.
When I had a lot of [TV] work, I moved to Sangam*. But I was completely out of work. Since I couldn’t do what I really liked doing, I started asking my friends for an English instructor position. My friends were cautious about introducing me, though. Parents could easily get upset [for hiring me].
He admitted that he “felt like a criminal” because of everything that happened and shared that it deeply affected his mind.
I kept wondering, ‘Who am I?’ I felt like a criminal. I was scared to go outside, and I was terrified of meeting people again. I wanted to stay home and sleep. At least when I’m sleeping, I can’t think.
He ended his apology by saying that he had learned from his mistakes and should think before acting.
I still don’t know everything about Korea. I don’t have all the knowledge. I think it’s best not to say things without thinking them through. It’s also best to ask around first. Life is an ongoing learning process. I’m learning as I live. And I’ve learned from my mistakes.
Sam is currently active on Instagram, where he shares photos and short clips of his day-to-day life.
This article has been updated to more accurately describe why Sam Okyere was “canceled.”
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