How Korean actor Yoo Ah-in became 'zucchini man' on social media

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How Korean actor Yoo Ah-in became 'zucchini man' on social media

Yoo Ah-in / Korea Times file

By Chyung Eun-ju

Actor Yoo Ah-in posted a lengthy message on his Instagram page Wednesday to wrap up a heated argument over feminism.

"I am sorry for causing such a commotion," the actor said toward the end of his post. "But you all enjoyed it and even sold it. Do not judge so hastily. Do not curse. Do not even compliment or cheer for me or take my side. Just grieve with me."

Yoo Ah-in's lengthy post that was written on Wednesday. / Captured from Instagram.

The start of "zucchini gate"

The actor was criticized for being a misogynist after replying to a tweet posted by an anonymous user of unspecified gender that called him a "zucchini man" on Nov. 18.

"It feels like he will open a fridge, find a zucchini and stare at it for a while, and ask me, ‘What does it mean to be alone?' and wink," wrote the user.

Yoo responded, saying: "Have you ever been hit with a zucchini (wink)."

"It meant nothing and he is going to beat me," the user replied. "Typical Han-nam."

"Han-nam," used as a derogatory term, is short for "Hanguk Namja," which means typical Korean men.

The actor told the user to "stop pretending to be ‘Joan of Arc'," starting an online discussion with several social media users over feminism.


After Yoo was accused of misogyny several times he wrote: "A joke directed at a person of unidentified sex was caught on the radars of ‘the minority reporters' and made me a female-hating han-nam, potential criminal. I should never have come here. What a beautiful and free world that leads from zucchini to a real-life fight."

He also used the term "Megalia" to refer to users who participated in the social media feud, which intensified the feminism debate. "Megalia" is a controversial feminist community and also known as a term to insult feminists in Korea.

A trainee, Han Seo-hee, also participated in the feud, which caused a quarrel between Han and Yoo. The actor made a remark referring to Han's marijuana controversy with Big Bang's T.O.P.

Han posted: "What did you say? I couldn't hear you because your penis is so small," with an emoji of two men with a pink heart, referring to rumors of Yoo being homosexual.

Within a week, the "zucchini man" discussion became referred to as "zucchini gate," as thousands of posts and several articles were published.

Yoo told his followers that they could unfollow him and not to "waste your energy typing my name in the search box." He also asked that they "live your own lives. Worry about yourself and have confidence in yourself, not me." Yoo also prayed for them: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. Please save them."

The hashtag "#whoisyooahin" started trending worldwide after his posts asked followers to "live your own lives."

The series of photos posted with his apology on Wednesday. Yoo asks, "Between signs and meanings, what do you see?" / Captured from Instagram

Yoo, the feminist

The actor made an attempt to end the feud with a post on Nov. 27, saying he was a feminist.

"I am a feminist," he posted on Facebook. "Although I do not know which authorities may bestow such license on me, I wish to discuss feminism with conviction, love and the spirit of my times. It will be a very long and difficult posting to ‘neo-humans' suffering from dyslexia, and a chance to peek into another person's world for those who view others through writing."

"I am who I am, just like you are who you are. No matter what you say, I am this kind of person. I don't want to fight to beat you. I want to be connected to you, and ask you how you are."

"Do not thoughtlessly use ‘writing' as a weapon"


After Yoo's apology on Wednesday, he posted a long response to Park Woo-seong, a film critic.

Park also participated in the online discussion and had called Yoo "violent" for not properly apologizing after the "feminist" issue erupted.

Yoo asked Park: "Is Yoo Ah-in a criminal who harmed a female?" along with a series of other questions.

"The degrading remarks you spit out were personal attacks on me which were slanders and you used feminism as a weapon to attack me just like how terrorist groups use weapons," Yoo said.

"Celebrities are people too that don't just exist online like game characters. Do not thoughtlessly use ‘writing' as a weapon."


Yoo Ah-in / Korea Times file

By Chyung Eun-ju

Actor Yoo Ah-in posted a lengthy message on his Instagram page Wednesday to wrap up a heated argument over feminism.

"I am sorry for causing such a commotion," the actor said toward the end of his post. "But you all enjoyed it and even sold it. Do not judge so hastily. Do not curse. Do not even compliment or cheer for me or take my side. Just grieve with me."

Yoo Ah-in's lengthy post that was written on Wednesday. / Captured from Instagram.

The start of "zucchini gate"

The actor was criticized for being a misogynist after replying to a tweet posted by an anonymous user of unspecified gender that called him a "zucchini man" on Nov. 18.

"It feels like he will open a fridge, find a zucchini and stare at it for a while, and ask me, ‘What does it mean to be alone?' and wink," wrote the user.

Yoo responded, saying: "Have you ever been hit with a zucchini (wink)."

"It meant nothing and he is going to beat me," the user replied. "Typical Han-nam."

"Han-nam," used as a derogatory term, is short for "Hanguk Namja," which means typical Korean men.

The actor told the user to "stop pretending to be ‘Joan of Arc'," starting an online discussion with several social media users over feminism.


After Yoo was accused of misogyny several times he wrote: "A joke directed at a person of unidentified sex was caught on the radars of ‘the minority reporters' and made me a female-hating han-nam, potential criminal. I should never have come here. What a beautiful and free world that leads from zucchini to a real-life fight."

He also used the term "Megalia" to refer to users who participated in the social media feud, which intensified the feminism debate. "Megalia" is a controversial feminist community and also known as a term to insult feminists in Korea.

A trainee, Han Seo-hee, also participated in the feud, which caused a quarrel between Han and Yoo. The actor made a remark referring to Han's marijuana controversy with Big Bang's T.O.P.

Han posted: "What did you say? I couldn't hear you because your penis is so small," with an emoji of two men with a pink heart, referring to rumors of Yoo being homosexual.

Within a week, the "zucchini man" discussion became referred to as "zucchini gate," as thousands of posts and several articles were published.

Yoo told his followers that they could unfollow him and not to "waste your energy typing my name in the search box." He also asked that they "live your own lives. Worry about yourself and have confidence in yourself, not me." Yoo also prayed for them: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. Please save them."

The hashtag "#whoisyooahin" started trending worldwide after his posts asked followers to "live your own lives."

The series of photos posted with his apology on Wednesday. Yoo asks, "Between signs and meanings, what do you see?" / Captured from Instagram

Yoo, the feminist

The actor made an attempt to end the feud with a post on Nov. 27, saying he was a feminist.

"I am a feminist," he posted on Facebook. "Although I do not know which authorities may bestow such license on me, I wish to discuss feminism with conviction, love and the spirit of my times. It will be a very long and difficult posting to ‘neo-humans' suffering from dyslexia, and a chance to peek into another person's world for those who view others through writing."

"I am who I am, just like you are who you are. No matter what you say, I am this kind of person. I don't want to fight to beat you. I want to be connected to you, and ask you how you are."

"Do not thoughtlessly use ‘writing' as a weapon"


After Yoo's apology on Wednesday, he posted a long response to Park Woo-seong, a film critic.

Park also participated in the online discussion and had called Yoo "violent" for not properly apologizing after the "feminist" issue erupted.

Yoo asked Park: "Is Yoo Ah-in a criminal who harmed a female?" along with a series of other questions.

"The degrading remarks you spit out were personal attacks on me which were slanders and you used feminism as a weapon to attack me just like how terrorist groups use weapons," Yoo said.

"Celebrities are people too that don't just exist online like game characters. Do not thoughtlessly use ‘writing' as a weapon."




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