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JTBC doubles down on denial of history distortion

Cast of upcoming JTBC drama “Snowdrop” (JTBC)
Cast of upcoming JTBC drama “Snowdrop” (JTBC)

Broadcaster JTBC on Tuesday hit back at criticisms of history distortion by releasing part of its plot for their upcoming drama “Snowdrop.”

“Snowdrop,” a romance drama featuring actor Jung Hae-in and Blackpink’s Jisoo, is set to air in the second half of this year.

Based on earlier released synopsis and character descriptions, some inferred that the plot revolved around a North Korean spy and the South Korean pro-democracy movement in the 1980s. Critics said that North Koreans had no influence on the pro-democracy movement and demanded that the drama be canceled as it disparaged the pro-democracy movement.
After denying last week that it glorified North Korean spies and the Agency for National Security, JTBC on Tuesday issued a longer, detailed statement aiming to clear up the controversy as opposition to the drama snowballed.

“The current controversies stem from combining fragmented information from an incomplete synopsis and character introductions that were leaked online. Suspicion has been added to fragmented information, making false information seem true,” JTBC said, explaining its decision to reveal part of its plot.

The drama is set around the 1987 presidential election and revolves around those in power in South Korea at the time, such as the military regime and the ANSP, the present day National Intelligence Service, who had conspired with North Korea to maintain the status quo.

“In such a setting, a North Korean spy and ANSP agent who chases after him appear. They do not represent the governments or institutions they are part of,” said JTBC. “Claims that espionage and ANSP actions are glorified are irrelevant to ‘Snowdrop.’”

JTBC also claimed that the drama does not center around the pro-democracy movement and that there are no references whatsoever in the script of the main characters participating in the democratization movement.

As of Wednesday noon, 147,871 people have signed a Cheong Wa Dae online petition demanding a stop to the “Snowdrop” production.

The case bears similarities to the fate of the SBS drama “Joseon Exorcist.” The fantasy period drama was canceled last week after the first two episodes aired as criticisms mounted over several historical inaccuracies featured in the drama.

As for the name of Jisoo’s character, Eun Young-cho, JTBC said that while the name is not in reference to Chun Young-cho, a real-life pro-democracy activist, the name will be changed.

Earlier on Tuesday, an online community sent a truck bearing protest signs to the JTBC building in Digital Media City in Seoul, demanding the broadcaster respond to the criticisms.

By Lim Jang-won (ljw@heraldcorp.com)
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