Steven Spielberg's Comments About Squid Game Have The Internet Seeing Red

Steven Spielberg has been nominated for Best Director for this year's Oscars for his film "West Side Story," which is also up for Best Picture, perĀ People. He's now been nominated for an Oscar 18 times. His first was in 1978 for "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," and he's won three times. And those are just his Oscars. According to IMDb, he's been nominated 248 times for awards at the BAFTAs, Emmys, and various film festivals around the world. He also has been noted as having been "thanked more than God" in Academy Award speeches, per Vocativ. Basically, he's a big deal.

But that didn't stop him from putting his foot in his mouth at a recent event. Spielberg was at a panel at the annual nominee breakfast for the Producers Guild Awards, and he was talking about the importance of casting stars for a movie or TV show to get viewers. But he noted that shows like Netflix's "Squid Game" have changed up the industry because of who they had in the cast, per Deadline. "A long time ago it was domestic stars that brought the audience into movies. Today, it's interesting, unknown people can star entire miniseries, can be in movies."

As it happens, though, many of the stars of the wildly popular show are not unknown in Korea, and so people had thoughts about what Spielberg had to say.

People are divided over whether Steven Spielberg's comments were offensive

Some interpreted what Steven Spielberg seemed to say about "Squid Game" actors as offensive. "Talking about foreigners as 'unknown people' is highly disrespectful. I can bet that we would not be thrilled to be called like that in others countries outside the US." tweeted one. While another person noted that his words were perhaps not deliberately hurtful, but that they still had that result. "The point is that he has, albeit unintentionally, downgraded the acting world beyond America. Indeed, in Korea, many actors and actresses have genuine emotional dynamism, sincerity and credibility that are at least the equal of anything found in the west."

But others saw it as a commentary on how the American viewing audience was changing and for the better. Someone tweeted that people weren't paying attention to the first part of the quote, and said that he was "literally praising that foreign stars can anchor domestic hits now. Everyone calm THEE F down." They weren't the only ones. Another tweet in support of Spielberg acknowledged that it was reductive to just focus on Spielberg referring to "Squid Game" cast as unknown, and that while the actors weren't unknown to audiences in Asia, "[...] they were mostly unknown to domestic audiences, but the series still was heavily viewed despite this, he has a point." Spielberg, as of this writing, has not publicly commented on the internet uproar.