Sponsors, investors dump K-drama 'Snowdrop' over 'distortion of history'
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Sponsors, investors dump K-drama 'Snowdrop' over 'distortion of history'


SEOUL: The fate of new Korean drama "Snowdrop”, featuring an idol from the K-pop girl group BlackPink and popular actor Jung Hae-in, is in the balance with calls to boycott its producers and sponsors over the show's politically provocative subject matter.

Photo: JTBC via Pulse

Puradak Chicken, a local chicken franchise that uses Jung Hae-in -- Snowdrop's lead actor -- as an advertising model, has become the latest to withdraw its sponsorship for the new TV series broadcast by JTBC.

risky mix of South Korea’s democracy legacy with North Korean theme has led to boycott of the series, makers, and sponsors as soon as it was released over the weekend..

The show is centered on a love story, set in 1987, of a university student played by Jisoo -- a member of K-pop girl band BlackPink -- and a North Korean spy played by Jung. Its bold examination of South Korea’s democracy legacy and North Korean infiltration has struck a raw nerve with many viewers.

The first two episodes of the drama broadcast last weekend sparked strong criticism for its alleged distortion of historical facts about the nation’s democratisation movement.

In the drama, a female college student (Jisoo) mistakes the male lead (Hae-in) for a pro-democracy activist. Many viewers found this scene offensive because the dictatorial South Korean regime at the time tortured many innocent activists and justified its behaviour by calling them North Korean spies.

The show’s use of a song symbolising the college students’ pro-democracy movement has also triggered protest. The song plays during a scene where the male lead, a North Korean spy, is chased by a member of the National Intelligence Service.

Amid the growing criticism, some of the show's main sponsors, including Teazen, Ssarijai and Ganisong,  have terminated their endorsement deals.

A petition on the Blue House bulletin board calling for Snowdrop's cancellation has gained over 300,000 signatures as of Tuesday.

Despite the controversy, Snowdrop ranked 12th on Disney+ on Tuesday. It is the first Korean show offered on Disney+ since its launch in Korea.

The controversy has weighed down shares of its production company. Shares of J Contentree, the parent of JTBC Studio and the creator of the drama, have lost around 11% of their value over the past four trading days. They closed down 0.84% at 47,250 won on Tuesday. Shares of YG, the label behind BlackPink, shed 4.8%  over the last two sessions, but recovered to end Tuesday 1.2% higher at 52,200 won.

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