The broadcasting industry was put on alert multiple times in the first half of this year. Amid the ongoing aftermath of COVID-19, we look back at the broadcasting industry in 2021, which got messy in many ways with scandals like school violence, historical inaccuracy, and rating slump.
Allegations Over School Violence
It started with Park Hye Soo. First, people who claimed themselves to be her classmates disclosed stories from her problematic school life. In response, the actress revealed her intention to get to the bottom of the issue through a legal battle. Dear. M, starring Park, was programmed as KBS’s Friday series but was canceled two days before its premiere.
But it was Ji Soo’s scandal that further fueled the controversy. Ji Soo, who was starring in River Where the Moon Rises, got embroiled in school violence allegations. Since the first report, more and more people stepped up to say that what he did was much worse than bullying. Eventually, Ji Soo admitted his past wrongdoings and stepped down from the series midway. After that, River Where the Moon Rises replaced Ji Soo with Na In Woo and re-filmed the entire series.
April’s Lee Naeun was also swept up in the school violence controversy. Due to viewers’ continued protests, Lee left the production of Taxi Driver, and Pyo Ye Jin filled her shoes.
In addition to these three, Shim Eun Woo, Jo Byung Gyu, Kim Dong Hee, (G)I-DLE’s Soojin, Stary Kids’ Hyunjin, and MONSTA X’s Kihyun were embroiled in the same scandal.
Controversy Over History Distortion
There was an unprecedented situation where a TV series was canceled after two episodes due to the controversy over history distortion. SBS’s Joseon Exorcist came under fire for its historical inaccuracy. Set against the backdrop of the early Joseon Dynasty, King Taejong was described as a tyrant who slaughtered innocent people. To make matters worse, Chinese foods such as mooncakes, fish cakes, and Chinese liquor constantly appeared, causing heated criticisms. Due to viewers’ organized protests, advertising companies pulled their funds out of the series. Eventually, SBS canceled Joseon Exorcist in just four days.
After that, JTBC’s upcoming series Snowdrop became the new hot potato. As Snowdrop’s script spread like wildfire on online communities, people criticized that the work denigrates democracy and justifies dictatorship. In response, JTBC explained that the leaked document is only a part of the unfinished script and will fix all the “problematic” parts.
Ratings Close to 0 Percent
The humiliation continued as more projects scored ratings close to 0 percent. As a result, MBC canceled its Monday-Tuesday drama due to the accumulated failures. Plus, this year’s first MBC Wednesday-Thursday series Oh My Ladylord ended on a low note, recording the lowest rating of 0.9 percent. The same goes for KBS’s Imitation. Coming after Dear. M, the show is also experiencing difficulties with a rating of 0.8%. Also, Dark Hole mostly scored near 0 percent and ended with 0.2 percent, leaving a shameful record in OCN’s history.
Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.