The premiere of the current K-drama, ‘Snowdrop,’ was anticipated by K-drama fans and Blinks (Blackpink’s fandom). It’s a love melodrama set amid South Korea’s June uprising and civil upheaval in the 1980s, and it stars Jisoo of Blackpink and Jung Hae-in of ‘D.P.’ fame.
After overcoming various roadblocks like cancellation petitions, pandemic delays; and a lack of publicity, the drama was finally picked up by Disney+ and released on December 18. People are once again calling for the show to be stopped after the first two episodes were broadcast, claiming that it was misrepresenting history.
South Korean civilians filed multiple petitions to have the plot of ‘Snowdrop’ annulled when it was first made public in March 2021. They were addressed to the Blue House (South Korea’s presidential office). They alleged that the drama was misrepresenting history by romanticising civil upheaval and glamorising the life of activist Young-cho; played by Jisoo of Blackpink. Production apologised for the miscommunication, altered the female lead’s name to Young-ro; and promised that the plot will be faithful to the revolution that led to South Korea’s current democracy.
More than 200,000 South Korean citizens have signed a petition to cancel the drama starring Jung Hae-in and Blackpink’s Jisoo; following the release of the first episode of ‘Snowdrop.’ Jisoo’s Young-ro saves Jung Hae-in’s Su-ho; who is a rumoured North Korean spy, at the premiere. It also shows the NSA (National Security Planning) team; which many South Koreans believed was bogus, following proper legal procedures.
Su-ho’s role would help to explain the NSA’s conduct in torturing activists
A symbolic song of the revolt was also incorporated at the moment as the NSA team chases the male lead; which the petition argued was inappropriate. It further argued that because Su-ho was allegedly from North Korea, being mistaken for a South Korean activist was inappropriate. In actuality, many innocent people were tortured by the NSA because they were mistaken for spies at the time; when many justified the violence by implying that North Korea was participating in the rebellion.
Su-ho’s role would help to explain the NSA’s conduct in torturing activists by falsely accusing them of being North Korean spies. On top of that, many of the drama’s sponsors dropped out after admitting that they had not gotten the script. Many South Korean and non-Korean fans spoke out about the purported distortion of facts on social media, explaining why viewers couldn’t tell the difference between reality and fiction.
They said that ‘Snowdrop’ was praising the NSA, which they claimed was a horror during the revolt. They told them about their parents’ experiences with the NSA; including how they were tortured or knew people who had been tortured on false claims. Many viewers also expressed concern that by casting Jisoo of Blackpink; a well-known K-pop diva, the drama would propagate misleading information to her massive international fans; who would be tuning in to see the drama.
Because only two episodes have broadcast to this date, some people believe the show should be given a chance. One viewer tweeted, “There are very good points that should be respected but also a lot of lies that are being used to get the drama cancelled and to get clout. very unfortunate to see but I will not speak on it further”. Some also translated Korean posts that did not have a problem with the distortion of history since it is fiction, “Knetz defending snowdrop after watching today’s episode and prasing jisoo acting.”
However, many viewers created instructive threads; about why it was crucial not to whitewash one of the deadliest revolts in South Korean history for this particular show. One user shared, “It’s fiction to you because you don’t recognize anything in this show. The politics and history are unfamiliar to you; you don’t have the knowledge to recognize the glaring red flags You don’t know your own ignorance”. Another shared, “A fiction that has a female lead who has globally big fanbase and a lot literal children following her a** and learning being educated from the fictions she’s acting in, same goes to every other actor there, however it’s very obvious she’s attracting most of intl audience.”