Imagine signing up for a social media site in 2010, picking a username that you liked and spending the next decade gradually building up a following under that brand. Then out of nowhere, 2021 hits and the biggest television show of the year also happens to be your exact handle.
That's what's happened to streamer and Yogscast member Lydia Ellery, who's been posting YouTube videos and going live on Twitch under the name 'SquidGame' or 'SquidGaming' for a decade now. When Netflix's Squid Game dominated the internet at the beginning of October, Ellery's Instagram account (@squidgame) was banned because so many people were trying to log into it or reporting it.
She was also inundated with messages, telling the BBC "I started getting abusive messages from people. 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."
Ermm I think so many people have been trying to log into my account or reporting it (squidgame) that instagram have banned me. Very not cool.October 8, 2021
Now, Ellery says she's lost two presenting jobs because of her inadvertent association with the show. "Looks like I might have to change my handle after all," she tweeted earlier this week. "I've lost two amazing presenting opportunities because people don't want to hire me with my 'squid game' handle. This is really getting me down now.
"First I get sent abuse, then I get banned, now I'm losing out on work."
Ellery told the BBC that the Netflix show has "completely messed up" her name's search engine optimisation, saying "If you search for me and my brand which I've had for over 10 years... all you get is the TV show." Talking about her recent loss of work, she said "I guess it's the connotations of the show—it's a very violent show, maybe it's that?"
It's a huge bummer to see a fantastic streamer dealing with something so unprecedented. It's not every day your decade-old brand becomes a world-famous TV show, and I know I wouldn't want to deal with hundreds of people flooding my inbox because of it.