Korean drama ‘Snowdrop’ premieres but petition filed to stop its airing

The much-awaited Korean drama “Snowdrop,” starring Jung Hae-in and BLACKPINK’s Jisoo, premiered on JTBC and Disney Plus on Dec. 18.

However, a petition has been filed with the website of the Office of the President to stop its airing, accusing the drama of distorting Korean history.

BLACKPINK’s Jisoo and Jung Hae-in in "Snowdrop" (Instagram/JTBC)

“Snowdrop,” a Saturday-Sunday drama, tells the story about political conspiracy and espionage against the backdrop of the 1987 Korean presidential election and a romance that blooms amid it.

In the drama, Jung Hae-in plays the role of Im Soo-ho, a graduate student who is a North Korean spy sent to South Korea to do a mission. Jisoo is Eun Young-cho, a college student at Hoosoo Women’s University.

The two meet during a group blind date after which Jisoo falls in love with him. Six months later, during a mission, a bloodied Im Soo-ho is chased by agents from the government’s Agency for National Security Planning (ANSP). He climbs into the dormitory room of Eun Young-cho and loses consciousness. She finds him and hides him from authorities.

The first episode also shows the South Korean military regime and ANSP conspiring with North Korea.

BLACKPINK’s Jisoo and Jung Hae-in during the press conference for "Snowdrop" (Instagram/JTBC)

The new petition, entitled “Petition to stop the broadcast of ‘Snowdrop,’ was filed on Dec. 19, or a day after the first episode aired.

As of writing, the petition to stop the airing of “Snowdrop” has garnered more than 105,000 signatures.

Under the rules, if a petition reaches 200,000 signatures in 30 days, government and Blue House (presidential office) officials are mandated to reply.

According to the petition, “Snowdrop” has “already caused a lot of controversy by disparaging the democratization movement through the release of a synopsis before its airing and more than 200,000 people have agreed to the petition to cancel the airing of the drama.”

Last March 26, a petition was filed with the Office of the President, accusing “Snowdrop” of glorifying the ANSP, which was linked to the torture and killing of people.

1987 was a historic year for South Korea as thousand of students and citizens joined nationwide protests to condemn the killing and torture of a student activist and to pressure the government to hold a direct presidential election.

The new petition said the drama’s production team previously said there was nowhere in the script for the male and female leads to participate in or lead the democratization movement.

However, it said, in the first episode, “the female protagonist misunderstood the spy, the male protagonist , as an activist and saved him.”

It said at the time of the democratization movement, there were activists who were tortured and killed as spies without any basis. It added that making a drama with such content despite the historical facts undermines the value of the democratization movement.

The petition also protested the use of the Korean protest song "Pine Tree, Green Pine Tree" during a scene when Im Soo-ho is being chased by ANSP agents. It said the song emphasizes the pain and victory of those who participated in the democratization movement

It said it is unacceptable to use such a song as the background music for a person who plays as an agent of the ANSP and for a person who plays as a spy.

“Snowdrop” is also aired on the OTT platform Disney Plus and according to the petition, the drama can be viewed in many countries. It said the drama should not be aired anymore as it can instill a false view of the democratization movement in Korea among foreigners.

“Korea is a democratic country, and this democracy was not achieved without effort, but through the pain and sacrifice of the innocent majority. Only about 30 years have passed since this and the airing of dramas that undermine the value of the democratization movement should be stopped, and at this point in time when the influence of Korean culture is gradually growing, the broadcasting industry should also think about the seriousness of historical distortion,” according to the petition.

Korean channel JTBC, which airs “Snowdrop,” also fuelled anger by turning its bulletin board into private wherein only the commenter and the administrator of the website can see the content of the comment. The bulletin board allows netizens to post comments.