SBS “Joseon Exorcist” has been on the receiving end of heavy backlash due to its premiere.
While the issue started with Chinese props, many have begun to express their thoughts on historical inaccuracies in the show. Despite the production team’s initial statement, advertisers started pulling their ads from the drama and netizens petitioned to the blue house to cancel the show.
Brands that pulled out their advertisements include health company Ho Gwan Won, Geum Sung Beds, Ace Beds, Body Friend, Hite Jinro, LG Lifestyle and Health, KT Telecom, CJ Jeil Jedang, Banollim Foods, Samsung and more.
As a result, and despite the drama’s solid first episode ratings, its second episode took a huge hit and lost a significant amount of viewers in ratings.
On March 24, “Joseon Exorcist” came back with two new statements that were more detailed and apologetic.
The production company issued a new statement iterating their apology for the use of Chinese style artwork and props during a sensitive time. As a result, the problematic scenes will be removed from the VOD replays and television reruns.
They also responded to claims that the clothing and props had Chinese style, they stated,
“This is entirely the production team’s mistake for not checking on the issue beforehand. For future broadcasts, we will edit out these parts as much as possible and work our best on our production to not cause discomfort to the viewers.”
In their statement, they denied that the drama received Chinese funding and assured viewers its completely Korean-funded,
“’Joseon Exorcist’ is a drama that is being produced with 100 percent Korean funds.”
The drama borrows from historical figures and settings but the production company stated its a fantasy fusion historical drama according to the production company, they stated,
“Although the drama borrowed from historical characters and backgrounds, it is a fantasy fusion historical drama, and started with the imagination of ‘What if the evil spirits enter the human desires and awaken in the chaos of the early Joseon period?’
We planned to draw stories of how Taejong, Prince Chungnyeong, and Prince Yangnyeong try to overcome the crisis and run toward their goals. We tried to focus on ‘fantasy imagination’ by borrowing real people to convey the ‘reality of horror’, but overlooked the fact that it can cause great confusion in sensitive times. We bow our heads in apology for causing disappointment to the viewers due to the production team’s imperfections…”
The production team also stated they will change the roles into ‘fictional characters’ fitting for the drama’s genre starting episode 3 and will edit out or re-film any problematic scenes.
SBS also released a statement apologizing and announcing the drama will suspend The VOD replays and television reruns of the first two episodes until they’re edited. Added to that, “Joseon Exorcist” will take a one week break from broadcast. SBS ended their statement with,
“we will do our best to not cause any discomfort to viewers. We once again sincerely apologize.”
My personal thoughts- written by Jass K.
Wow! That snowballed rather quickly. The screenwriter and production company of “Joseon Exorcist” are the same ones for “Mr. Queen” which was also under fire for similar issues. I think they thought a simple short statement of their POV would resolve this similarly to what they did with “Mr. Queen” but this time, it didn’t work.
I don’t think they anticipated this amount of backlash. While viewer’s backlash is one thing, advertisers pulling the plug is a serious issue. A large number of the advertisers have said they’re taking off their ads, this basically means SBS will lose a lot of money, because, unlike modern-day dramas, this one cannot have PPL so they rely heavily on traditional ads.
In retrospect, the production company should’ve approached this issue with more care.
I am not Korean so I don’t get to feel enraged nor am I in the position to call this whatever some I-fans have been doing, I do understand why there is backlash and I can picture how/why it can cause so much damage.
This leads me to a question. Why is the screenwriter Park Kye Ok so keen on using actual historical figures? If he saw such pushback from the public for his previous work for similar issues then why is he doing it again? He should reconsider overly dramaticizing historical events and figures because sometimes, what he ends up doing paints these figures in a light vastly different than what they’re known for. Hence the backlash.