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SBS TV series ‘Backstreet Rookie’ slapped with KCSC warning

Screenshot of a problematic scene from SBS‘ TV series “Backstreet Rookie.“ High school student Saet-byul kisses an adult male stranger. (SBS)
Screenshot of a problematic scene from SBS‘ TV series “Backstreet Rookie.“ High school student Saet-byul kisses an adult male stranger. (SBS)


The Korea Communication Standards Commission on Thursday issued a warning to SBS TV series “Backstreet Rookie” for airing provocative and inappropriate scenes.

The KCSC noted scenes such as underage female high school student character Saet-byul kissing an adult male stranger while asking him to buy a pack of cigarettes for her are against its regulation on maintaining integrity and also using language fit for broadcast.

“In the process of producing an R-rated webtoon into a TV series with a rating of 15 years old and older, the drama production team has shown that it lacks consideration in portraying different genders and produced contents that can cause viewers discomfort and aversion,” the KCSC said.

Such a warning is considered a heavy penalty for a broadcaster as it affects the KCSC’s annual broadcast evaluation points for license renewal.

The KCSC also said that the production team had a chance to make some changes before airing when it received conditional approval from SBS’ own review team. At the time, SBS suggested the production team delete inappropriate scenes, including those where characters use profanity.

“The warning was inevitable as the TV series repeatedly featured slang words and swear words,” the KCSC added.

Concerns about the provocative scenes were first raised in public forums even before the first episode aired in June.

Addressing the issue at the time, the director explained during a promotional event in June that the drama deviates much from the original R-rated online comic series, adding that it had adjusted scenes to make it appropriate for a family drama. The original series was released in 2016 on the webtoon platform Toptoon.

The number of complaints about the show has soared in the last two months. According to the KCSC, it has so far received over 7,000 complaints about inappropriate scenes in “‘Backstreet Rookie.”

By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)
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