Why did Blackpink Jisoo’s ‘Snowdrop’ fail? Show portrays NSA agents as 'ordinary people'
‘Snowdrop’ has been under fire since before its premiere for glorifying the NSA, whitewashing their bloody reign and using real-life inspiration for sensational plot twists. The K-drama starring Blackpink’s Jisoo and Jung Hae-in is set during the '80s uprising for democracy in South Korea. We also have Hae-in’s character, Su-ho, being a North Korean spy being mistaken as an activist. There have been several similar dramas like ‘Youth of May’ set during the uprising or ‘Crash Landing On You’ which has a South Korean falling in love with a North Korean soldier.
However, ‘Snowdrop’ has been subject to several cancel petitions, protest trucks and two lawsuits calling for the drama to be canceled and its channel JTBC to be shut down. Survivors, memorials and families of victims of the uprising explain that the Blackpink Jisoo-starrer has angered citizens because of the real-life inspiration. Had the plot been totally fictional, the drama would have not been under fire for distorting history and causing a ‘second assault’ to the victims. Well, an interview with the creators trying to resolve the situation has made the controversy worse.
NSA is shown neutrally
JTBC tried to explain that their focus was not on the uprising or the NSA but to reprimand those who used innocent people for their own agenda and to stay in power. In a recent interview, a staff member shared, “'Snowdrop' is the project we made bearing in mind NSA agents were ordinary people too. There are some scenes making a satire of the government at that time but it's not depicted as extremely bad people. In the latter part of the series, there are scenes related to the incident in 1998 without a strong negative depiction of NSA.”
The misunderstandings will continue
The staff member also pinpointed as to why the misunderstandings will continue, “I feel like the history distortion controversy is the matter of perspective, how you view the 1987 era. 'Snowdrop' depicts NSA with a politically neutral view but if there are many viewers who are unhappy with such viewpoint, the misunderstandings will persist.” The Information and Broadcasting Committee further elaborated that, “broadcasting companies need to ensure the imagination and freedom of producers are maintained however not through providing "historically distorted" information to the viewers. 'Snowdrop' may affect how the world views our country since it airs through Disney+.”
One of the main problems that South Koreans have with ‘Snowdrop’ is that it 'distorts' history by glorifying the NSA which was a real organization in the '80s. They allegedly brutally terrorized innocents while trying to quell the uprising, falsely labeled student protestors as North Korean spies and tortured them. In the drama, Blackpink Jisoo’s character Young-ro hides Su-ho because she thinks that he is an activist while the NSA searches for him. This storyline justifies the real NSA's claim that violence was used because North Korea was behind the uprising.
'Snowdrop' also shows the NSA officers as rational beings who put the citizens’ welfare ahead of their missions. In reality, they were accused of never following any lawful procedures as getting search or arrest warrants and simply arrest someone based on their suspicions. Activists have compared this historical revisionism in ‘Snowdrop’ and showing the NSA as ordinary people as the same as glorifying Nazis. The characters of 'Snowdrop' are also based on real people who were tortured by the NSA.
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