‘Snowdrop’ controversy builds up as major producer P&J Group pulls out of sponsorship

'Snowdrop' poster starring Jung Hae In and BLACKPINK's Jisoo (Image via @jtbcdrama_Instagram)
'Snowdrop' poster starring Jung Hae In and BLACKPINK's Jisoo (Image via @jtbcdrama_Instagram)

JTBC’s Snowdrop has lost one of its largest producers within just three days of the show’s broadcast. P&J Group announced on their website on Monday that they are canceling their sponsorship of the BLACKPINK Jisoo and Jung Hae In's historical drama.

The JTBC show may suffer a lot of damage because of P&J Group canceling its production support.

The internet is currently filled with discussion threads on the political importance, inaccuracy, and details about Snowdrop’s first two episodes. After multiple petitions and criticism online for the show's synopsis, it finally premiered on December 18, as JTBC assured South Korean citizens in a statement that it does not distort history.

The first two episodes have given the audience a taste of what the drama looks like and it has given rise to petitions demanding the cancelation of the broadcast. The severe backlash is tainting the drama’s cast and crew, along with its sponsors.

One of the three major producers, P&J Group, are the first to cancel their sponsorship after the controversy. On behalf of the company, CEO Jeong Kyung Hwan issued a statement on the website, stating:

“We invested without knowing the details of the plot thinking it would have a good advertising effect. I did not think I should investigate further after being reassured by the staff of the drama saying problematic scenes have been edited out to pass broadcasting standards. After learning more about the issue we have now requested to take our sponsorship off and they have confirmed to take our name out from the third episode.”

The statement can be seen as a pop-up on P&J Group’s website. Korean media outlet Sports Chosun also reported that organic food companies, fashion brands and even ceramic brands are following in P&J Group’s footsteps by canceling their deals with the show.

Brands release apology following #snowdrop 1st ep broadcast:Teazen (tea, no direct sponsor, only expose drama ads)Dopyoungyo (pottery)GANISONG (fashion)Ssarijai (rice cake)Hans Plus (shopping mall)They (exc. Teazen) admit to not received the script -c-#KoreanUpdates RZ

Why is ‘Snowdrop’ controversial?

Snowdrop is a love story set in the late 1980s during the political uproar of the pro-democratic movement. Jung Hae In plays Im Soo ho, a mysterious student who participates in protests and ends up bloody in Eun Young Ro’s (BLACKPINK Jisoo) dorms.

Amidst the trials and cat-and-mouse game between government and spies, Young Ro, unbeknownst to Soo Ho's real identity, falls in love with him.

The pro-democratic movement has a significant and painful past in South Korea's history. A majority of protestors, who stood up against then-dictator President Chun Doo Hwan and his government were young university students. Innocent students who took part in the protests were brutally tortured and killed under the guise of being North Korean spies.

The first two episodes of Snowdrop seem to hint towards Soo Ho being a North Korean spy, which re-institutes the lies of the then-dictator government justifying their brutal torture and killings of innocent students.

As cancelation petitions, online forums, and sponsors pulling out gain traction, it will remain to be seen if Snowdrop ends up with the same fate as Joseon Exorcist.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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