South Korea — Snowdrop, a highly anticipated JTBC drama starring Jung Hae-in (from Netflix’s military drama D.P.) and BLACKPINK member Jisoo, has come under fire for allegedly misrepresenting history.
According to The Independent Singapore, Disney+ chose a period romance for its first foray into Korean content. Regrettably, for the global streaming giant, the show’s airing drew criticism for its distorting historical events.
The characters in the show are accused of distorting history and undermining the Korean democratisation movement. A statement issued by JTBC after the controversy first came to light in March firmly denied the statement.
It is implied that the show’s protagonist, Su Ho, played by Jung Hae-in, is a spy. Netizens pointed out that the character was shown to be a real spy when many activists were falsely accused of being one. The Agency for National Security Planning, which was part of an authoritarian society at the time, also had a team leader. A song associated with the democratisation movement was also alleged to have been used in a scene in the drama.
Petition to remove Snowdrop
As of this writing, more than 325,000 people have petitioned to get the show taken off the air. Despite the public outcry, JTBC will not cancel Snowdrop, according to Manila Bulletin.
A petition to stop airing Snowdrop was filed on the website of South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s office on Dec 19, and the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC) has received nearly 500 complaints from viewers.
As the backlash against the show has grown, several sponsors have already withdrawn their support and issued public apologies. The list includes Heungil Furniture, Ganisong, Hans Electronics, and Teazen.
According to Soompi, JTBC issued a statement on the controversy. It said: ”First of all, the background and motif for important incidents in Snowdrop are the time of military regime. With this background, it contains a fictional story of the party in power colluding with the North Korean government in order to maintain authority. Snowdrop is a creative work that shows the personal stories of individuals who were used and victimized by those in power.”
It vehemently denied that the drama’s characters were inspired by the democratisation movement, writing, ”There is no spy who leads the democratisation movement in Snowdrop. The male and female leads were not shown as participating in or leading the democratisation movement in episodes 1 and 2, and they do not do so in any part of the future script.”
JTBC also pleaded with viewers to be patient, as the drama’s plot will be revealed with the release of the remaining episodes.
JTBC said: ”The drama includes the production team’s intent of hoping for no repetition of an abnormal era in which individual freedom and happiness are oppressed by unjust power. Although we, unfortunately, cannot reveal much of the plot ahead of each episode, we ask that you watch over the future progress of the plot.”
The company added: ”In addition, in order to hear the valuable opinions regarding JTBC’s contents, we will listen to diverse voices by opening the portal site’s real-time chat window and the official viewers’ message board. The main values that JTBC aims for are the freedom of content creation and independence of production. Based on this, JTBC will continue to contribute full effort into showcasing great broadcasts.”
This isn’t the first time Korean netizens have pushed a petition to cancel a drama. Another period of K-drama, Joseon Exorcist, was cancelled in March after just two episodes drew a severe backlash from viewers, also over inaccurate history. A pro-cancellation petition gained 127,000 signatures in a day.