JTBC has finally issued a statement about the topic as calls to cancel Snowdrop reach record heights.
The show has been dogged by criticism and accusations of historical fabrication since its summary was released. Snowdrop and JTBC were accused of displaying an alternate version of history, catering to the right-wing public, during a volatile moment in Korea’s history, the 1987 Presidential elections.
While JTBC first refuted the allegations and claimed that no distortions would be made, the first two shows painted a different picture. On December 18, a group of Korean viewers started a national Blue House petition requesting JTBC to stop airing Snowdrop. The petition claims that:
“There are definite activist victims who were tortured and killed during the democratization movement because they were [falsely] accused of being spies without any grounds. Creating a drama with a plot like that despite this historical truth undermines the value of the democratization movement.”
The fact that the male lead, Su Ho, played by Jung Hae In, was a real North Korean spy posing as a student activist; according to these viewers, was a slap in the face to all those innocent students and activists. They were wrongly suspected of being spies and tortured and executed as a result. The use of a patriotic hymn drew criticism as well.
The petition had surpassed 300,000 signatures as of December 21. Several sponsors and brands have withdrawn out of Snowdrop as a result of the scandal, alleging they were not shown the script before the show aired.
JTBC finally answered on December 21 after remaining silent for the first two days. According to the statement:
“.. we will listen to diverse voices by opening the portal site’s real-time chat window..”
The agency requested that the viewers trust Snowdrop and wait for the plot to unfold as planned. “Although we, unfortunately, cannot reveal much of the plot ahead of each episode, we ask that you watch over the future progress of the plot.”
The agency also announced that the chat section on their website will be opened so that viewers’ complaints could be heard and answered in real-time. “In addition, in order to hear the valuable opinions regarding JTBC’s contents, we will listen to diverse voices by opening the portal site’s real-time chat window and the official viewers’ message board. The main values that JTBC aims for are the freedom of content creation and independence of production. Based on this, JTBC will continue to contribute full effort into showcasing great broadcasts.”
The reaction to JTBC’s announcement on Snowdrop has been divided. While the majority of overseas fans are excited and optimistic about the drama, a number of Korean viewers have expressed their discontent with this decision.
Interestingly, despite having fewer petitions against it than Snowdrop, the SBS drama Joseon Exorcist was cancelled for claimed historical misrepresentation.