A day after its pilot episode aired, a public petition was made calling for the Blue House—the office of South Korea’s head of state—to cancel Snowdrop. As of writing, the post has already been signed by over 200,000 people in just two days.
This isn’t the first time Korean netizens have pushed a petition to cancel the drama. In March, an initial post was created on the Blue House website to keep the show from airing, accusing the narrative of historical distortion and the glamourization of North Korean spies.
ICYDK, Snowdrop is set in 1987 in the midst of the June Struggle in Korea, a pro-democracy movement that fought against the authoritarian rule and dictatorship of President Chun Doo Hwan. In the story, Eun Young Ro (Jisoo), a student in a female university, takes care of an injured North Korean spy named Im Su Ho (Hae In) after she mistakes him for being a student protestor.
According to the Korea Times, the first wave of backlash came from indignant netizens insisting that Hae In’s character "implies that North Korea was involved in the 1980 Gwangju Uprising—a claim made by then-President Chun Doo Hwan in defense of his government's lethal suppression of the democratic movement."
However, seeing as the allegations were based on leaked info of Snowdrop, which JTBC later clarified, the petition was eventually denied by the Blue House. That said, while the government cited the broadcasting station’s right to freedom of expression, they also warned that should the series truly show "excessive distortion of history, or violate regulations," then it may be subject to further deliberation by the Korea Communications Standards Commission.
In the new petition, netizens raised that the drama "undermines the value of the democratization movement," as seen from the misunderstanding between Young Ro and Su Ho during the first episode. According to them, this ignores the fact that many student activists were tortured and killed during the military regime after they were falsely pinned as spies with no actual basis.
Furthermore, while Su Ho is on the run from a government agent, a song that was used to symbolize the democratization movement is played in the background. Petitioners have called the use of the track inappropriate considering none of the characters during the scene are student activists, and that it reportedly showed their perpetrators in real life.
Following the controversy, a number of sponsors have already pulled out from Snowdrop and have even issued apologies. This includes Heungil Furniture, Ganisong, Hans Electronics, and Teazen, among others.
As reported by Sports Chosun, some netizens have already emailed Disney+ to stop streaming Snowdrop on their platform. In response to this, Disney Korea told the media outlet that they’ve yet to settle on an official position.
Meanwhile, JTBC and the Blue House have not yet responded to the recent issue.
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