A screenshot of the Cheong Wa Dae petition calling for the cancellation of “Snowdrop” (Cheong Wa Dae website)
An online petition on the Cheong Wa Dae website demanding a halt to the production of the upcoming JTBC drama “Snowdrop” awaits an official response from the presidential office, having gathered more than 200,000 petitioners as of Monday.
The Cheong Wa Dae website states that a Cheong Wa Dae representative will respond to any online petition signed by more than 200,000 people within 30 days of its posting. As of 2 p.m. on Monday, 205,812 people had signed the petition.
“Snowdrop” is a romance drama featuring actor Jung Hae-in and Blackpink’s Jisoo, set to air in the second half of this year.
When parts of the synopsis and character descriptions were released online, some inferred that the plot revolved around a North Korean spy and the South Korean pro-democracy movement of the 1980s.
“Although it has been proven multiple times that there was no North Korean involvement in the democratization movement, this work has a spy as the main character. In addition, the other characters glorify the Agency for National Security that tortured and killed people in the government’s name,” said the anonymous person who uploaded the petition March 26.
“Production of the drama which insults the foundation of our country needs to stop and the already filmed portions need to be destroyed,” the petition demanded.
In response to the brewing controversy, JTBC last month released the plot for the drama and denied the allegations, but apparently to no avail judging by the number of petitioners.
“The current controversy stems from combining fragmented information from an incomplete synopsis and character introductions that were leaked online. Suspicion has been added to information fragments, making false information seem true,” JTBC said.
According to JTBC, the drama is set around the time of the 1987 presidential election, instead of the democratization movement period as alleged, and revolves around those in power in South Korea at the time, such as the authoritarian regime and the Agency for National Security Planning -- the forerunner of the present-day National Intelligence Service, which 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 the institutions of which they are part,” said JTBC. “Claims that espionage and ANSP actions are glorified are irrelevant to ‘Snowdrop.’”
It remains to be seen whether “Snowdrop” will meet with the same fate as the SBS drama “Joseon Exorcist.” The fantasy period drama was canceled last month after the first two episodes, in response to criticism over several historical inaccuracies.
By Lim Jang-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)