Netizens Have Mixed Reactions After An Old Video Of Eric Nam Interviewing Tom Holland Resurfaces

Some are calling Tom Holland’s behavior “microaggressive” and “racist.”

An old video press interview for Marvel StudiosSpider-Man: Homecoming has resurfaced among K-Pop fans.

Veteran K-Pop fans might be familiar with soloist Eric Nam as having done many celebrity interviews. Many first became introduced to him as he was a host of After School Club. Yet, for a while, he was also the “go-to” interviewer anytime Western celebrities promoted their films in Korea since he’s Korean-American.

Eric Nam

So, he’s interviewed many of your favorite celebrities, not just K-Pop idols. Examples include Academy Award winner Emma Stone to Avengers Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr. 

One interview in particular, though, has resurfaced with clips going viral on social media. It’s his interview with British actor Tom Holland and American actor Jacob Batalon when they promoted Spider-Man: Homecoming in Korea. It’s also garnered mixed reactions.

From left: Eric Nam, Tom Holland, and Jacob Batalon. | VLIVE via AddictedToKpop/YouTube

Previously, Tom Holland has received love from the K-Pop fan community as he himself identifies as a fan. He recently identified himself, especially as a fan of BTS.

He has also done quite a lot of Korea-based interviews since and is quite respectful and appreciative of the culture.

In his interview with 영국남자 Korean Englishman, he was joined by Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, and Pom Klementieff. During it, the cast tried many popular Korean foods, and Holland enjoyed everything so much that he even mentioned visiting a nearby store back home so he could buy more in the future.

However, netizens are viewing his first Korea-based interview differently.

A clip from Eric Nam’s interview with Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon from when they promoted Spider-Man: Homecoming in Korea was posted on TikTok by Lena (@1mdrum on TikTok). She called it one of her “favorite interviews” yet didn’t expect it to blow up. After just a day, it has gone viral with 1.6 million views as of the time of writing.

@1mdrum

old but gold | my fav interview ever |#ericnam #tomholland #american #koreanamerican #tomhollandinterview #spidermanhomecoming #marvel #kpop #fyp #foryou

♬ I Don’t Know You Anymore – Eric Nam

Tom Holland: You speak great English, my man. How did you learn English?

Eric Nam: I’m American.

Generally, the response has been positive. Many found the clip amusing as Tom Holland was clearly shook and regretful after complimenting Eric’s English and asking him how he learned, only to find out that he’s American.

| @1mdrum/TikTok

| @1mdrum/TikTok

It’s common for American or Canadian K-Pop idols to be asked about their English as assumptions are made. Yet, rather than find Tom Holland’s question offensive, some called it a reverse of how K-Pop idols are shocked to find that Koreans outside of Korea know Korean. When ATEEZ guested on YouTube channel REACT, they were stunned when a Korean-American spoke to them in their native language. Likewise, many K-Pop idols are pleasantly surprised when Korean-American interviewer Ellie Lee speaks to them in Korean.

| @1mdrum/TikTok

As with any viral TikTok, it ended up on Twitter as well. Many were shocked to find out that these two celebrities had not only met but one was interviewed by the other.

Yet, many were also deeply disturbed by Tom Holland’s statement and question directed at Eric Nam. Some have even gone so far as to label Holland a “racist” and block him on social media now.

| Twitter

| Twitter

It’s blown up not only internationally but even South Korea… four years ago when the video was originally shared. News outlets around the world covered it, and Korean netizens were also offended on behalf of Eric Nam, although Nam himself had said that he received hate when he first started making a career in Korea as he didn’t know the language well. In his MINDSET collection, he opened up about how he was perceived as “rude” because he was not yet familiar with traditional Korean manners.

‘Sing like a Korean person.’ …I can’t do it. I didn’t grow up with that sound.

— Eric Nam

Watching the video clip of Tom Holland and Eric Nam in its original context (the interview is almost half an hour), viewers don’t perceive it that badly.

From left: Eric Nam, Tom Holland, and Jacob Batalon. | VLIVE via AddictedToKpop/YouTube

There are a few things to take into account. Since the interview is four years old, Holland, who was 21 years old, had not done much press overseas as Spider-Man was his first major role, and the interview was conducted in South Korea. Live subtitles weren’t working for the live stream during filming, so Nam spoke in English and translated in Korea for it.

Both actors, including Holland and Batalon, were impressed. So, based on location and circumstances, they assumed that the interviewer, Eric Nam, was a native Korean.

From left: Eric Nam, Tom Holland, and Jacob Batalon. | VLIVE via AddictedToKpop/YouTube

Many netizens didn’t find issues with the interview and Tom Holland’s comments when viewed in context.

There was a debate in the comment section when it was originally posted on YouTube. Yet, most comments were positive.

| AddictedToKpop/YouTube

Some even sympathized with Holland.

| AddictedToKpop/YouTube

In 2017, international netizens found it hypocritical that K-Netizens were offended considering consistent issues of cultural appropriation in K-Pop and K-Dramas, as well as other reported instances of racism.

| Twitter

| Twitter

Still, today, K-Pop fans, especially fans of Eric Nam, are deeply disturbed by others finding humor in the video clip. They, too, are saying it’s “hypocritical,” as many preach “Stop Asian Hate,” yet excuse microaggressions.

| Twitter

| Twitter

“Microaggressions” was first corned in 1970 by Harvard University psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce. According to Dr. D.W. Sue, who helped popularize the term in Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation., said that microaggression is a “term used for commonplace daily verbal, behavioral or environmental slights, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative attitudes toward stigmatized or culturally marginalized groups.”

| Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute

Eric Nam has been on the receiving end of microaggressions many times. He has been open and candid about it on multiple occasions.

In many ways, it makes me feel like, ‘Do I not belong here?,’ ‘Why am I here?,’ and ‘How do I identify?’ I think this is something that so many of us in the community have dealt with our entire lives and I think that’s why so much of this racism can also be very casual and can kind of sneak up on us in many ways.

— Eric Nam

Still, Eric Nam is a mental health advocate and generally discourages cancel culture. As co-founder of DIVE Studios, he’s provided a platform for diverse individuals to speak on serious topics.

Of course, it’s always right to hold someone accountable for their actions. But is it fair to dig up something from one’s past and not only judge them on it but “cancel” them for it? No one is free of wrongdoing and shameful mistakes, and we also are not who we once were in the past.

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