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'The Penthouse 3’ apologizes again for using news footage of earthquake, building collapse

A screenshot from the Sept. 3 episode of “The Penthouse 3: War in Life” shows real news footage from a fatal building collapse in Gwangju in June. (SBS)
A screenshot from the Sept. 3 episode of “The Penthouse 3: War in Life” shows real news footage from a fatal building collapse in Gwangju in June. (SBS)

Producers of the hit South Korean drama “The Penthouse 3: War in Life” apologized again for including inappropriate scenes in an episode the previous week.

The apology was featured at the beginning of the latest episode of the drama, which aired Friday.

“In our Sept. 3 episode of ‘The Penthouse 3: War in Life,’ a few scenes inappropriately included news footage of a building collapse in Gwangju and the earthquake in Pohang,” the statement read. “We apologize to the victims of the accident and their families, as well as our viewers.”

The statement added that it had deleted those scenes from its reruns and video-on-demand services and would take care not to repeat its mistake.

In the Sept. 3. episode, protagonist Joo Dan-te (played by Um Ki-joon) plants a bomb in Hera Palace, a 100-story luxury apartment building in the heart of Seoul. To depict the explosion, actual news footage of a building collapse in Gwangju was used. The accident took place June 9, when a five-story building that was in the process of being demolished fell on a city bus on an adjacent road, killing nine passengers and seriously injuring eight others.

The production team also used actual news footage of residents of Pohang staying at a shelter after a magnitude 5.4 earthquake in November 2017, representing them as Hera Palace evacuees. The Pohang earthquake injured 92 people.

The drama faced criticism from Korean netizens who said it was inappropriate and unnecessary to use the footage.

“It was a serious accident that nine people died and eight people were seriously injured. Also, it only has been three months since it happened. How can you use the actual news footage of the building collapse in Gwangju in ‘The Penthouse 3’?” read one comment from an angry netizen on the drama’s official website.
 
A screenshot shows the apology that aired before the last episode of “The Penthouse 3: War in Life” on Friday. (SBS)
A screenshot shows the apology that aired before the last episode of “The Penthouse 3: War in Life” on Friday. (SBS)

The production team issued an apology Sept. 5, but the criticism continued until Friday.

Meanwhile, the latest episode of “The Penthouse 3: War in Life” ended with a 19.1 percent viewership rating, according to Nielsen Korea.

Written by popular screenwriter Kim Soon-ok, the drama revolves around the intense conflicts among residents of Hera Palace. The dark and convoluted relationships along with the suspense-filled story involving murder, betrayal and affairs has captured viewers’ attention for three consecutive seasons.

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