Netflix’s Squid Game is a popular show, having been watched by some 142 million households worldwide since it hit the streaming service on September 17. Unfortunately for Twitch streamer Lydia ‘SquidGame’ Ellery, the username and brand she’s built for the past decade is in jeopardy due to a perceived association with the show. Now, it’s costing her work.
In a BBC report, Ellery said that because her online handle—”SquidGame” on Instagram, Twitch, and YouTube; “SquidGaming” on Twitter—is the same as the name of Netflix’s Korean survival drama, she’s been “flooded” with hateful messages. People have also tried hacking her accounts due to this association, all for a handle she picked because it was “just a silly name.”
“I started getting abusive messages from people,” Ellery told the BBC. “People were getting angry with me because they were mega fans…and thought I took the account from the show. I had to turn off notifications on my Instagram because it was just constant. My phone has been flooded.”
As a result of this perceived association with the violent show, Ellery tweeted earlier this week she’s not only considering changing her handle, but she’s also losing work opportunities because people don’t want to employ her now.
Looks like I might have to change my handle after all. I've lost 2 amazing presenting opportunities because people don't want to hire me with my "squid game" handle. This is really getting me down now.— Lydia (@SquidGaming) November 2, 2021
One example of harassment Ellery has received came toward the end of October, in which she tweeted a screenshot of a direct message. In the photo, some user called her a “hack” for not being the real Squid Game account before immediately giving her a sexually derogatory compliment. It’s worth noting that, according to BBC, Squid Game doesn’t have any dedicated accounts and is instead promoted through Netflix’s channels. Her Instagram was also banned for a minute due to reports of her impersonating the show, though it was reinstated at the beginning of October.
While Squid Game is a recent series that came out just a little over a month ago, SquidGame/SquidGaming has been around since at least 2010. Ellery built her brand off this handle, garnering nearly 45,000 followers on Twitch and joining Bristol-based entertainment company The Yogscast in 2018. That her entire business is being disrupted because of an association with a show that doesn’t actually exist is a real bummer that I hope subsides.