Scholars studying Korean history have raised their voices regarding the ongoing controversy over the drama ‘Snowdrop‘.
On Tuesday, 26 scholars from around the world sent an open letter to Luke Kang, the President of The Walt Disney Company in Asia Pacific, asking him to reconsider the release of Snowdrop on a global platform.
“We are not writing to request that you stop streaming the show,” they wrote. “We make this request because we do not believe that Disney Plus as a global platform is aware of the historical and socio-political context in which this show exists, and we believe that platforms should make an informed decision when globally broadcasting a show set in recent, still-relevant Korean history (1987).”
The scholars then stressed that they have deep respect for “any media work’s right to freedom of expression and the use of an artistic license.” Yet, they emphasized that although a fictional work 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.”
Although the writings didn’t go into so much detail into the history and its comparison to the drama, the scholars made three big points. The first point was that the female lead was originally named after female activist “Yeong Cho” and that the drama is about her love story with a North Korean spy when the real Yeong Cho’s husband was arrested and tortured on suspicion of being a supporter of the North Korean regime.
The second point was that the male lead’s backstory reminds people of the actual history where “many Korean students who studied in Germany were accused of being North Korean spies, kidnapped to South Korea, and imprisoned.” Lastly, the scholars pinpointed that the female lead’s father, Eun Chang Su, a man with good principles, and real-life military officer Park Jun Byeong, who committed one of the worst massacres of civilians in modern Korean history, show too much resemblance.
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