The petition has gathered close to 300,000 signatures by Christmas Day.
Amid vocal petitions calling for the show to stop broadcasting, TV network JTBC’s hotly-contested Korean drama “Snowdrop” will continue airing as a result of the Seoul Western District Court dismissal of the Declaration of Global Citizens in Korea’s request for an injunction against the network.
Since premiering last December 18 and 19, “Snowdrop,” which stars BLACKPINK’s Jisoo and Jung Hae-in, has been met by wildfire of condemnation for its alleged historical revisionism of the events that took place during the 1987 June Democratic Struggle in South Korea, a pivotal moment in the country’s history.
The backlash translated to a nationwide petition addressed to the Blue House, the executive office and official residence of South Korea’s head of state, on the evening of Sunday, December 19, calling for the swift cancellation of the “historically distorted” and “inappropriate” series.
“There are definite activist victims who were tortured and killed during the democratization movement because they were falsely accused of being spies without any grounds. Creating a drama with a plot like that despite this historical truth undermines the value of the democratization movement,” the petition read.
As a result of the recoil, sponsors of the series started pulling out, with one brand, tea company Teazen, promising to take “appropriate measures to stop advertising their products” in the K-drama. The ratings of its latest episode, which aired on Christmas Day, also dipped, posting its lowest viewership since its debut at just 1.689 percent.
Responding to the allegations, JTBC released a statement to clarify their stance, emphasizing that the series, despite its historical motif, is a “creative work” that tells a “fictional story.” The following reads a portion of their statement:
Following the broadcast of “Snowdrop,” controversy is not dying down based on false information, so we are releasing a statement.
First of all, the background and motif for important incidents in “Snowdrop” are the time of the 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.
Most of the misunderstandings regarding concerns of “history distortion” and “disparaging the democratization movement” criticized by many people will be settled through the progress of the drama’s plot. 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 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.
JTBC also opted to speed up their airing schedule to temper its critics and shed some light on their intended narrative, specifically on the background of Hae-In’s spy character.
Explaining its decision, the court clarifies that such an allegation of distortion was difficult to prove in the absence of a law protecting the pro-democracy movement from such.
“Even if ‘Snowdrop’ is based on a distortion of history, the probability that the public will blindly accept [those distortions as fact] is low,” it said, per Soompi. “Unless the content of the drama directly involves [the civic group], it’s difficult to argue that it infringes on the rights of [the group].”
Art Daniella Sison