Just when we thought that the controversy behind the ‘Snowdrop’ drama had ended, another update came in about academic scholars sending a joint open letter and history explanation to Walt Disney Asia. They have requested the company to look into the historical details of the drama.
‘Snowdrop’ Controversy Update: Academic Scholars Sent an Open Letter and History Explanation to Walt Disney Asia Pacific’s President
The controversy regarding Korean history in the ‘Snowdrop’ drama continues through an open letter and explanation from academic scholars to Walt Disney Asia Pacific (APAC).
On January 10, an assistant professor of Korean Studies at Georgia Institute of Technology, Bae Keung Yoon, posted a tweet with a link to an open letter and explanation regarding the ‘Snowdrop’ drama history controversy. The academic scholars dedicated this open letter to Luke Kang, the president of Walt Disney Asia Pacific, home of Disney+.
“We are writing to you as scholars of Korea regarding the Korean drama, Snowdrop (설강화), that has been made available on your streaming service, Disney Plus.” – .”Open Letter to Walt Disney APAC President, Luke Kang.
The Open Letter is NOT About Canceling or Stopping ‘Snowdrop’
Unlike the previous petitions, these academic scholars didn’t request to cancel or stop the ‘Snowdrop’ drama series. In fact, they asked the company to crosscheck once again about references appearing in ‘Snowdrop’ drama that involve South Korean history.
Moreover, these academic scholars also requested Walt Disney APAC to seek counsel from various well-qualified modern Korean history experts. Then, they can see and measure how these historical references appear in the ‘Snowdrop’ drama.
Update and Extensive Explanation About South Korean History Issue within ‘Snowdrop’ Drama
Furthermore, the scholars also further explained their main concern why they keep demanding action about the ‘Snowdrop’ history controversy. In their update and explanation within the open letter, the main problem about the ‘Snowdrop’ drama controversy is its broadcast to the international public and audience.
Previously, the Seoul Court ruled in favor of the ‘Snowdrop’ drama based on a decision that they believe the public will not accept the historical inaccuracies blindly.
Still, according to the letter, creating and broadcasting creative fiction based on history will be acceptable IF the show only remains on the national broadcast. After all, there will be numerous historians, politicians, and intellectual figures who can provide explanations and expertise for Korean viewers.
However, once the show leaves South Korea and reaches the international audience, there’s a chance that the historical inaccuracies will be harmful. That is because the global audience is most likely unfamiliar with modern Korean history. And there will be nobody actively explaining what had truly happened in reality.
Contradictory Argument from ‘Snowdrop’ Drama Defense
Moreover, the open letter also addressed how ‘Snowdrop’ drama production delivered contradictory arguments about the history issue. In the scholar’s open letter, the ‘Snowdrop’ defense team argued their rights to explore creative possibilities within the narration.
However, academic scholars believe this argument is contradictory when so many specific details about actual people and real incidents from history appeared in ‘Snowdrop’.
“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.
The historical details contained in the show, in tandem with its place on your far-reaching platform, have raised enough concerns that we write this letter to you asking for thoughtful consideration when distributing the show globally.”Open Letter to Walt Disney APAC President, Luke Kang.
Another Controversy Detail and Update about South Korea ‘June Struggle’ History in ‘Snowdrop’
In addition to points of controversies that we have previously discussed: how ‘Snowdrop’ distorted several facts about South Korean ‘June Struggle’ history, there was an update in the scholars’ open letter.
According to the open letter, there’s another character that appeared to be based on a real-life figure, but also serves totally different narrative from reality. The character in the discussion is the female lead’s father, Eun Chang Soo. The scholars believed that it is inappropriate that Eun Chang Soo as the director of ANSP: Agency for National Security Planning (국가안전기획부/안기부) to have a good principle, knowing that the agency is infamous for their acts of torture and murder.
In addition, Eun Chang Soo character apparently shares numerous similarities with Park Jun Byeong, a real-life military commander who led one of the most horrible civilian massacres in Korean history.
‘Snowdrop’ History Controversy Open Letter: Signed by 32 Academic Scholars Worldwide
Finally, signed by a total of 32 academic scholars majoring in Korean Studies, East Asian Studies, International Affairs, Languages, Cultures, and more, the open letter requested Walt Disney APAC to take action and be aware of its responsibility as a worldwide media platform.
“Disney Plus clearly has ambitious and exciting plans for South Korean content on its platform, based on this interview you gave to the Hollywood Reporter, and is making headway into numerous Asian markets as we write this. 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.
We, as academics of Korea, stand behind this letter and the points argued within.”Open Letter to Walt Disney APAC President, Luke Kang.
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