“We ask that you watch over future progress of plot”: JTBC addresses Snowdrop’s alleged historical distortion accusations

Snowdrop has aired two episodes so far (Image via JTBC)
Snowdrop has aired two episodes so far (Image via JTBC)

As calls for canceling Snowdrop reach unprecedented heights, JTBC has finally come forward with a statement regarding the controversy.

Ever since the show’s synopsis was announced, it has been shrouded in controversy and accusations of historical distortion. Set in a tumultuous period in Korea’s history, the 1987 Presidential elections, Snowdrop and JTBC were accused of showing an alternate version of history, pandering to the right-wing audience.

Thread of right-wing, authoritarian-loving individuals and groups who have voiced support for Snowdrop because it confirms their version of history
Writer Lee Ji-sung said on his insta, “People who are bullying Snowdrop - it is historical fact that the so-called “leaders for democratization” were all trained by NK spies when they were student protesters. Please study before you act.”
An in-depth editorial on major newspaper DongA Ilbo was also curious if Snowdrop could “flip the script” on the narrative about student protesters. The article starts out by questioning, “were the student protesters always on the right side?”…

While JTBC denied the accusations at the time and promised that there would be no distortions, the first two episodes presented a different picture.

Several Korean viewers created a national Blue House petition on December 18, asking JTBC to stop airing Snowdrop. According to the petition:

“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.”

According to these viewers, the fact that the male lead Su Ho, played by Jung Hae In, was an actual North Korean spy pretending to be a student activist was a slap in the face to all those innocent students and activists. They were falsely accused of being spies and subsequently tortured and killed. The usage of a patriotic song also invited displeasure.

In one fell swoop, the show affirms what so many people - the NSA, the authoritarian government, older conservatives, and now the alt-right, have said to ppl like my parents: “Students may be manipulated. They are naive. They don’t know the world. There may be spies among them.”
What is awkward is that this support is actually hurtful to Snowdrop’s own plea that it is NOT distorting history. Because the people who DO distort history are saying, “yes yes keep going we love it!”

As of December 21, the petition has crossed 300,000 signatures. In light of the controversy, several sponsors and brands have pulled out of Snowdrop, claiming they were not shown the script before the airing.

JTBC asks viewers to give ‘Snowdrop’ another chance

While staying quiet for the first two days, JTBC finally responded on December 21. The statement said:

JTBC’s official position on Snowdrop “misunderstandings will be resolved during the drama development process…”🔗…#SNOWDROP #설강화

The agency asked the audience to give Snowdrop a chance and wait for the plot to progress as intended.

“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 revealed that they were opening their portal’s chat feature so that viewers’ grievances could be heard and resolved 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.”

JTBC’s statement regarding Snowdrop has seen mixed responses. While most international viewers are ecstatic and hopeful for the drama, several Korean viewers have expressed their displeasure at this move.

@haesoo_official They work for this more than a year.. They obv will not let this drama go downhill aftr premiering it.. I personally don't know about korea history.. But if JTBC already stated that they didn't distorted.. So that's mean they didn't.. Just wait for the plot development
@haesoo_official Let's just focus on drama and don't say anything else guys 😭 my poor heart couldn't even beat properly these past two days
@haesoo_official A LOT of well known people are at stake for filming a drama of such magnitude. If they chose to walk this tightrope, best believe that they knew what they're doing. I trust the whole production of Snowdrop. I trust Jisoo and I trust Haein. ❄️💙
here's an explanation of how the characters in snowdrop are actively contributing to history revisionism…
jtbc made a whole ass report about the joseon exorcist situation, meaning that people made their research, prepared scripts, went over details and still thought that airing snowdrop would be okay?? this makes it so freaking worse because they know how awful history distortion was
I'm not watching Snowdrop. I refuse to watch a drama that's entrenched in what I consider to be ahistorical propaganda. South Koreans were upset with the show from the beginning, and for JTBC to push through with it feels very off to me considering Disney's involvement.…
Media corporation pick me disease…

Incidentally, the SBS show, Joseon Exorcist, was canceled for alleged historical distortion, despite having fewer signatures against it than Snowdrop.

Edited by Ravi Iyer
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