Upcoming jTBC Drama Next Target of K-netizens for Historical Distortion Even Though it Hasn’t Even Aired, jTBC Releases Statement that it Will Review and Revise Anything Problematic

The Joseon Exorcist brouhaha continues to expand and now it’s roped in a drama that hasn’t even aired yet. K-netizens have set their sights on jTBC period romance drama Snowdrop set 1987 in a university setting. Jung Hae In is a graduate student who stumbles injured into the dorm at a female university and is nursed back to health by sheltered rich girl Jisoo and the two fall in love. Turns out he’s probably a spy for the government (maybe) and netizens are upset about that because they think it’s glorifying the dictatorial government which sent spies to break up student movements during that era when South Korea was fighting to democratize. Netizens think this story set up is putting down the student democracy movement and whitewashing/beautifying the government security bureau and spies, despite the drama not having aired so it’s all conjecture. But it’s enough for jTBC to release a statement that Snowdrop is a black comedy romance set in the 1980’s during the military run South Korean government era and asks that netizens do not take character charts and blurbs on the plot and assume it is putting down the democracy movement and elevating the government perspective during that period. Nevertheless, the network will conduct a fill review of the drama (which is still filming) and remove anything problematic. So this is what self-censorship looks like, and with it goes creativity and growth through differences in opinion.


Upcoming jTBC Drama Next Target of K-netizens for Historical Distortion Even Though it Hasn’t Even Aired, jTBC Releases Statement that it Will Review and Revise Anything Problematic — 34 Comments

  1. Pingback: Upcoming jTBC Drama Next Target of K-netizens for Historical Distortion Even Though it Hasn’t Even Aired, jTBC Releases Statement that it Will Review and Revise Anything Problematic - Kpopnchill - All About K-pop News

  2. I’m personally horrified reading all of these new reports. Knetizens are unintentionally pushing South Korea into becoming like the countries they’re not fond of including China and North Korea. This censorship is frightening. It’s not even the government but its people that are actively pushing these levels of attacks on freedom of speech. I may not be Korean but it’s doesn’t mean I don’t have a right to comment on these issues. Before a nationality, I’m a human first. We are all part of the human race although sometimes I wish I wasn’t haha Are we really allowing debates on historical accuracies to infringe on the rights of a fellow person to use his or her imagination? It’s not even their intentions to be callous towards anyone. Going after the crew and the acting team is subhuman behavior. Historical so called facts from those periods can’t be 100 percent proven since the records are not complete or detailed. Human first, pride second.

    • You said my thoughts exactly, South Korea must protect freedom of speech or it will go towards a path of authoritarianism instead of

      It may hurt the pride of South Korea but to axe something over historical depiction in a fiction is playing the slippery slope of freedom of speech and expression. The minute you begin to censor things, even if it’s for the greater good, you are killing democracy. You do not want to give that power to just a few but to everyone. America did this by burning books when we wanted to protect religion over our own freedom. We know how dangerous it is to take away a voice, even if it lies, cheats and says things you don’t like. It’s their freedom and it’s your freedom to tune out.

      In all fairness I know it’s sensitive subject but there was time to retract, make changes. the advertisers had seen the script beforehand and did not have a problem until it aired. So, something needed to be done in a haste. They could have changed the characters names, made a clearer announcement that this was not to be taken as historical fact. But most importantly, cancel culture is not the answer. Having the conversation is. I hope you will let the actors, crew and director continue to work because other future shows are now in their line of canceling which is censorship and people you do not want that!!!

      • I completely agree about the slippery slope because where will it end. Everyone should be allowed to express their opinion and artistic imagination in a manner of their choosing as long as it won’t lead to physical harm and everyone is allow to respond and refute back. It’s all about having a conversation but it shouldn’t lead to people being cancelled unless their actions are detrimental and directly harming people.

        I agree, they should give the drama a chance to fix themselves rather than hasty cancelling the drama and harming the reputations of many when it was not even their intentions in the first place to hurt anyone.

        It’s so easy for people to hide behind anonymous accounts and go after people. Imagine if people try to cancel you for one comment that wasn’t eloquently expressed or taken out of context. Many People sure are lacking empathy and imagination

  3. I remember when knetz look down on China’s NRTA censorship and praising South Korea’s creative freedom but look at them now. Self-censorship sounds ridiculous but this is literally what they are doing to themselves now (which is worse lol)

  4. Omg. These Knetizen reactions remind me so much of China. They claim to hate China but they’re just the same. This is wokeness gone overboard.

    • I was just about to sayd! If local netizens dont want to support then they dont have to. These materials can be marketed outside of korea. The reason for these content breaking out internationally was because they are creative and thinks out of the box… or shall we now assume this will now cease to be the case? In that case then the popularity they have been experiencing will decline. Really disappoibting news.

  5. I understand if they want to preserve their history but the thing is now these Knetzs are harming their own celebrities and peoples. This drama not only still not on air, it don’t show any trailer or official poster to the audiences yet.

    I wonder if these Knetz’s dramas escalated because of the timing of tense Knetzs vs Cnetzs. If they really care about historical accuracies there will no drama like Queen Seon Duk and Empress Ki in Korea. Not only Empress Ki was aired on public channel and got high ratings, it also won public channel awards back then.

    But imagine if Empress Ki airing now. I believe these loud Knetzs will tear down the drama apart huhu

    • I’m sorry, there was already official poster for Snowdrop but no offical trailer yet.

      So will the Korean historical drama inspired by the Chinese historical drama, The Golden Hairpin continue to filming after they secured the main casts? The Knetzs wouldn’t be happy you know.

      • They’ve even gotten Mr. Queen removed from streaming platforms.

        Aside from Snowdrop, others on the hitlist are The Golden Hairpin, My Roommate Is A Gumiho, Tale of Secret Royal Inspector & Joy, Jirisan, When The Day Breaks/Until The Morning Comes and counting. The non-historicals in the list are accused of being funded by Chinese investment or so.

  6. This kind of news is depressing. A drama which has not started airing is already being targeted. I heard it already lost one sponsor.

  7. Wow, this craziness from k-netz is entertainment in and of itself. I often hear from koreans living abroad that korea can sometimes be toxic and that everyone takes things too seriously, this is probably an example of what they mean. Just gonna sit here with my popcorn and watch if any of the creatives will eventually push back lol. Must be so stifling to be an artist there and not have full creative freedom, always in fear of ‘the mob’ (good title for a kdrama I might say). I hope this mob has just been extra antsy due to the stress from the pandemic and that they will eventually calm down.

  8. There are so many historical dramas that needs to be reviewed before releasing. I am hoping TGH, EunBin’s drama, and Hong Chun Gi will go well. I read somewhere that HCG teasers are all put on private but maybe they are going to reedit some parts especially I noticed that Ahn Hyo Seop’s clothes does not look like it is from Joseon era. It looks like from the three kingdoms (Goguryeo, Baekje, or Silla). It’s my first time also seeing a noble man in Joseon with his hair down. Aren’t they mostly tied and partnered with a hanbok hat? Though they are very creative with their costume but JE also faced the same problem since their era is in Joseon and not before Joseon. But I hope netizens would not make this of big deal since it is a fantasy themed drama and not using any historical figures.

      • Jirisan (English title: Cliffhanger), a modern drama from the same screenwriter of Korean historical movie, Kingdom, also among other Korean dramas that caused public’s concern.

        This drama is a modern drama and not using any real historical figures, not an adaptation or remake from any Chinese dramas but it still on the observation list because according to source it has Chinese investment or something like that.

        So I don’t think many Korean dramas will survive if this newly formed of Knetzs censorship continue LOL

  9. When I read about K-netcitizens being this organized against something, I wonder who/what is the genesis of this?

    I don’t believe in many conspiracy theories mostly bc they are unrealistic in scope. But something like this has to start somewhere, and we have seen in the US how feeding a scary story can lead to much bigger consequences.

    So, who wins if a show/star is criticized? Who wins if a CF star is canceled? Who would want to stop the success of Korean streaming sales? Product placement revenues? Is it just malice that destroys for the fun of it? I don’t get it.

  10. If they continue , they are “killing” a part of Kent industry , unemployment of a lot of people , dramas are not only made with actors , but also killing the creativity as advdertisers, producers will not invest for fear of reprisals . They will go back with makyang or cinderella’s stories . Tragic . As an international viewer i don’t have the right to say anything ( as someone said in a previous comment) but it’s always like this that censorship begins with excesses exulting . An international viewer is watching a drama as a fiction not as acurate documentaries . And i think that Skoreans are intelligent to make the difference between History and stories .

  11. I’m so dismayed that almost everyone here is piling on knetz and making all sorts of assumptions without first looking into what’s causing such a huge outcry from Koreans about Snowdrop (and JE). I’m not Korean and it’s not my place to say what should happen with Snowdrop, but I’d like to share part of a comment from ldekepress on the kdrama subreddit which highlights some of the key issues. (And at the bottom is a link to Ask A Korean’s twitter thread in which he gives examples of why he’s convinced that Snowdrop is trying to whitewash history. His conclusion is “There is no mistaking this. Snowdrop is a full collection of every McCarthyist trope that South Korea’s far-right ever indulged in.”)

    (From ldekepress): Let me add some context for the controversy. The drama is set in the 1980s when Korea was under a military dictatorship and fighting for democracy. The military dictatorship used secret police to arrest, torture and kill protestors. The regime justified these actions by falsely claiming that protestors were North Korean spies. (Similar to the Red Scare or McCarthyism in the US). Well, in this drama, the male lead IS a North Korean spy pretending to be a protestor. You can see why this is problematic. It’s creating an alternate reality that aligns with the military dictatorship’s propaganda.

    Also, the second male lead is part of the secret police who tries to warn the female lead that the male lead is actually a spy. The second male lead is also allegedly portrayed as honorable and self-sacrificing. This is problematic bc it’s whitewashing the secret police that in reality tortured protestors in secret prisons. In Korea, the right-wing still claims liberals are secretly communist. The right-wing constantly claims that Moon Jae In, the current liberal president of Korea, is secretly a communist and is trying to turn South Korea over to North Korea or turn South Korea into a communist country.

    Ask A Korean’s twitter thread on Snowdrop: https://twitter.com/AskAKorean/status/1375491654216474626

    I’d just like to add that even if some knetz are taking things too far in the cancel-culture-filled backlash, that doesn’t invalidate the legitimate concerns of the broader community.

    • I respectfully disagree. I read that entire Twitter post and most of them are just conjectures based on an synopsis, an synopsis alone. They literally did an essay with a synopsis. It’s like me writing a 5 page book report by reading a summary on the back of the book haha Until we watch the first or second episode, we will have a clearer picture of how the drama will portray the characters and the incidents. They’re definitely going to take artistic liberties and until we see and hear it with our own eyes, it’s too rash to make such judgments. Why worry and jump into conclusions when it hasn’t even happened at all? Also the network claims all accusations are false. It’s best for netizens to wait and see instead of critiquing before even watching. It’s like me commenting the taste of a food dish before I even taken a first bite haha

      • Please please be considerate of culture and history. Have respect. this isn’t something easy to pass by as this or that. You are not the ppl affected. There is much more than just pretty faces on the screen.

      • My comment here is about people making judgment before they even view the product. The Knetizens aren’t even been affected in any manner because this drama hasn’t even come out. The one who are being affected are the ones who has not done anything, cast and crew. They are being judged before one episode even came out.

        Second of all, being proud of one culture does not give anyone the right to infringe the rights of others. I pick respecting a human being having artistic rights over preserving humankind history that has not being preserved properly in the first place. It was not their intention to hurt anyone. I value human life over human history. The netizens aren’t being harmed, but the people they crucified including cast and crew are. I’m in no way talking about pretty faces on screen but the rights of mankind as a whole.

      • @Laura..i agree with what u said that we shouldn’t jump into conclusion but Jtbc’s statement as deeming it as a black comedy and said the leaked synopsis is true but it is incomplete.. This pissed off k-netz even more..Those people who suffered during their struggle for democracy and lost their relatives are still uncomfortable with this event being fictionalized in such a way that it could distort history and give out the wrong message..U know why people are unwilling to believe Jtbc, it is because the owner supports far-right wing ideology..Just do a google check..
        If a drama of this big scale gets released,the supporters of that autocrat who are still mocking the uprising till this date, they would get a louder voice..
        Normally i am not in favour with k-netz but it’s their country, their history and they have each and every right to protect it.We non-koreans shouldn’t interfere.I m saying this once again none of these would have happened if Jtbc straight out claimed that Jung Hae in is not a spy.And the NIS guy character description which they gave in the beginning is revised now. Even the fans of the actors are worried and signing petition because they don’t want their fave’s name to be associated with such a drama..Do u think they don’t care abt their bias or do u think i-fans know more than them??
        Also, cancelling the drama now is better because it would be worse if it meets the fate of Joseon Exorcist..I don’t want it to be cancelled but if Jtbc doesn’t assure people and clear all the doubts surrounding the plot, there is no option left.

      • @Laura one more thing…Who told you k-netz aren’t affected?? Their parents and relatives died fighting for their county..Many are still awaiting justice..Do u think they would allow their names being used with such disrespect?

      • Anon, the drama hasn’t even been released. Everything is speculation. No one except the production crew knows how the characters will be portrayed. It’s like punishing someone although they haven’t done anything wrong but you think they will because of your imagination.

  12. The general public of todays Korean society are becoming to be like those in power/with money that they hated the most They feel so powerful and righteous that it doesn’t even matter whether they are isolating their country from global competitiveness and passing on with the opportunity. They’ll be stuck in that state of mind forever while the rest of the world forgives, forgets or moves on.

  13. I’m sorry but NO! This one is not at all comparable to the historical distortion noise made over the Joseon Exorcist; actually this one smells a lot more like conservative propaganda.

    South Korea has always had a long history of conservative dictatorship that tried to distort the truth; and it’s no secret that the government does not really want to acknowledge the historical May Gwangju upraising as a student-led demonstration. They’ve always tried to portray it as the job of north korean spies (as is the case with the whole silmido scandal). This drama alludes to that historical student upraising and suggests that it was indeed infiltrated by north korean spies and that the protagonists (a.k.a. good guys) are spies for the government. Let that sink in for a moment. It’s like saying that one wants to make a movie where people killed in the Holocaust were spies for the Allied Forces and that the Nazis were trying to protect Germany. I sure hope people would raise concerns about such a movie, especially if it’s produced in Germany. That would allude to the second rise of Nazism there. Even if we don’t know how the drama will actually unfold, I think it’s only normal and in fact very good that people are concerned.

    I definitely don’t think that it has to be necessarily canceled, but they sure have a lot of explaining to do. This case simply is different from you know, not wanting chinese product placement in kdramas, or architectural buildings in kdramas having japanese influence, or even a different take on a certain historical figure (like having Kim Tae Hee play a good Jang Hee Bin).

    • Is SK’s government so conservative right now?
      Even with that Park woman removed?
      That’s the most scary part.
      Your perspective regarding the juntas and the possible absolution from K-ent is to the point.

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