Concerned scholars "carefully examine historical references when distributing 'Snowdrop'"…send open letter to Disney

연합뉴스 / 2022-01-11 16:07:00
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▲ This file photo shows the truck protest, urging the suspension of "Snowdrop" regarding controversy over historical distortion, which was held in Mapo-gu, Seoul, on Dec. 29, 2021. (Yonhap)



SEOUL, Jan. 11 (Yonhap) – Home and abroad scholars studying Korea sent an open letter to the Walt Disney Company regarding the JTBC drama "Snowdrop,” where there has been a heating controversy over historical distortion.

Snowdrop is a drama set in the 1980s, when the movement for democracy against the dictatorship was at the peak, and it is being released throughout the world through Disney+, an Over-the-top media service(OTT) platform.

32 Professors and scholars studying Korea in home and abroad academia, such as Georgia Institute of Technology, George Washington University, and Ewha Womans University, sent an open letter to Luke Kang, Walt Disney’s Asia-pacific president, saying, “…carefully examine the historical references made in the show, and consider for yourselves the way those historical references are used,” according to the coverage of Yonhap News Agency on Jan. 11.

They said, "We are not writing to request that you stop streaming the show,” adding, “We believe that platforms should make an informed decision when globally broadcasting a show set in recent, still-relevant Korean history(1987).”

They added, “Moreover, while we understand the defense that fiction has a right to explore creative narratives, that defense can also feel hollow when a show uses numerous, specific details that reference actual people and incidents from recent history,” adding, “…there are esteemed Korean historians, politicians, and other figures of intellectual authority who can offer their expertise and critique for Korean viewers. However, this is not the case once the show leaves Korean shores and is broadcast to an international audience, an audience that is generally unfamiliar with modern Korean history.”

The professors stated in particular that the name of Snowdrop’s female lead reminds of a real life Cheon Yeong-cho, and the show centering a love story between the female lead and a North Korean spy is highly inappropriate.

They explained, “The real-life Yeong-cho’s actual husband, Jeong Mun-hwa, was arrested and tortured on suspicion of being a communist and a supporter of the North Korean regime,” adding, “ To this day, there are new truths being discovered about victims framed as North Korean spies or communists, as well as court cases seeking to restore the honor of those victims.”

The letter also added that the point where Eun Chang-su is “defined as a reluctant participant in the authoritarian regime, a conflicted man who - deep down - has good principles” is the problem when “this character shares a striking number of biographical similarities with real-life military officer Park Jun-byeong, who commanded the 20th Infantry Division into Gwangju in May, 1980.”

They requested, “We hope that, with this immense access and reach, the company also takes note of the responsibility it has as a platform and reflects on the kind of media content it makes available around the world.”



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