The Korea Herald


Moroccans launch criticism at Korean star chef

By Choi Jeong-yoon

Published : April 12, 2023 - 17:46

    • Link copied

Baek Jong-won (Baek Jong-won's Instagram) Baek Jong-won (Baek Jong-won's Instagram)

Korean star chef Baek Jong-won is facing social media backlash from Moroccan viewers after his cooking program aired on TV last Sunday.

Following the broadcast of tvN's "Business Genius, CEO Baek," Moroccan viewers are taking issue with how the program marked a map of Morocco and how they portrayed scenes of locals praying. The program shows the Korean crew selling Korean food in a Moroccan night market.

With over 1,500 comments in Arabic and English, viewers criticized that the program only showed half of Morocco on a map, excluding the territory of Western Sahara. Western Sahara has been the subject of a long-running territorial dispute between Morocco and its indigenous Sahrawi people, having been annexed by Morocco in 1975 following the end of Spanish colonial rule.

One comment read, "Showing only half of the map of Morocco is like people saying that Dokdo is not a Korean territory."

Comments show fierce debate between South Koreans and Moroccans following a broadcast of tvN's Comments show fierce debate between South Koreans and Moroccans following a broadcast of tvN's "Business Genius CEO Baek." (Bae Jong-won Instagram)

Moroccans also criticized scenes in which the crew laughed as locals prayed, claiming that it "insulted Islam and Moroccan culture." Many disputed the argument that "People are misinterpreting the context of the laugh and should watch the episode to get the full grasp of the situation."

Some pointed out that Moroccans were unfairly taking out their anger on Baek, since the incidents are a combination of production mistakes and misunderstandings from Moroccan viewers.

The fierce debate between Koreans and Moroccans is ongoing as some Koreans comment that Moroccans were being racist, accusing the night market authorities of shutting down the crew's tent simply because it was doing better than the local stalls. Others blamed the production team for their shortsightedness of not understanding the logistics of the operation.