LPGA star opens up on receiving death threats

Christina Kim

Christina Kim has revealed that she received death threats for "well over ten years" in a frank and honest discussion about her run-ins with internet trolls.

Speaking on this week's edition of The bunkered Podcast, the three-time LPGA winner detailed some of the abuse she has endured online since she started using Twitter in 2009.

"It was definitely a much safer space [back then]," said Kim, 36. "I’d kind of seen that there was a lot of negativity with Facebook and so I got on to Twitter and it was the most beautiful, encouraging, love-filled place. Everyone was so positive and so kind and so enthusiastic. 

"I look back on it and it’s what I would presume marriage is like. I had a long period of time where I was in the honeymoon phase then suddenly it’s like, ‘Do you ever plan on cleaning this dish or are we just leaving it in the sink?’ And now it’s to the point that it’s, ‘You know, I remember that on our fourth date you sneezed and you didn’t excuse yourself.’ It’s so funny the evolution of it."

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Decidedly less funny has been some of the abuse to which Kim has been subjected. As one of the most accessible, authentic and, at times, outspoken players in the game, the three-time Solheim Cup star has found herself targeted by online trolls. However, she insists that she doesn't let them get to her, particularly given the hostility she has faced from some quarters for her mixed background.

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"One of the things a lot of people don’t realise is that in South Korea, where my family is from, I’ve been dealing [with trolls for a long time]," she added. "A lot of people are like, ‘How do you deal with these trolls? You’ve got so much patience and grace and blah, blah, blah, bullshit, whatever, whatever’. I’m like, sweetheart, we have in Korea what are called ‘netizens’. For me, it was one of the first internet portmanteaus I’d come across. 

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"I have been vilified and absolutely strung up and quartered online because I’m not necessarily your stereotypical Korean LPGA golfer. First of all, I was born in America. I mean, the blasphemy of the fact that my parents chose to do things on each other and expel me from my mother’s womb outside of the country they came from. Being an American-born Korean was horrifying to [the trolls] as was the fact that I was raised in America and dealt with American pop culture.

"I mean, I was raised by a Korean family in American with Korean values, so obviously I was going to be a result of my nature. So, I was loud, I was brash, I was fat, I was ugly, I was this, I was that. You know, I received death threats for well over ten years. So, if someone’s going to call me a has-been, trust me, I’ve dealt with a lot worse than what any of you could ever dish out when I was younger and a lot more impressionable."

Christina Kim

Kim also had this advice for any would-be troll thinking about going after her. 

"Don’t even try because you don’t even want to know the dark, deep, awful things that I can say to myself. I’m like, come at me. I’m fat, I’m old, I’m a has-been, I haven’t been able to do this, I haven’t been able to do that, I’m a disgrace to the game, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. 

"I’m like, sweetheart, these are things I can have on a Sunday morning whilst I’m having my coffee. If you’re going to come at me, at least try and be creative."

• Listen to the full chat with Christina Kim on the latest episode of The bunkered Podcast, available to listen to for FREE right now on Spotify, Google, Apple and all other good podcast providers.

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