K-Drama Joseon Exorcist recently came under fire for inaccurate portrayal of history. Due to the criticism faced, many of their advertisers have been pulling out one by one, leading to a crisis for the drama’s production funds.
SBS has released an official statement regarding the matter on March 24, 2021. They apologized for the oversight in props and promised to re-edit the scenes for local use.
We apologize for causing discomfort to the viewers, due to the Chinese-styled art and props which expounded misunderstandings during a sensitive time. The problematic scene where the exorcist greets the prince will also be edited out and it will also be reflected as such in VODs and reruns of the show. It is the definite fault of the production team for not having acknowledged the critique of the Chinese-style props and outfits beforehand. As such, we will be trying our best to edit out the relevant parts as much as possible so as not to cause discomfort to the viewers.
SBS also wished to clarify that the drama was entirely, 100%, produced using Korean funding and that the rumors that China had heavily invested in the drama was false. They also explained their motivations behind the original production while promising to make changes to the show due to viewer demand.
Although the drama used historical background and figures, it is a fantasy fusion sageuk that started off with the imaginative question, “What if a demonic spirit played to human greed amidst the confusion during the early days of Joseon?” We tried to draw out the process of how King Taejongm Prince Chungnyung and Prince Yangnyung individually overcame strife and how they moved forth. So, although we made use of characters that exist in real life, we tried to convey the realism of horror while keeping the focus on imaginative fantasy. In that, we overlooked the fact that we might have caused huge confusion in during strict societal times. We have humbly accepted the problems brought up through viewers’ opinions and we will be making the change to fictional characters, from episode 3 onwards, so as to match the theme of fantasy fiction. We also plan to edit and re-film the problematic parts as much as we can. We will become a production team that possesses a stronger sense of responsibility that before.
Prior to this, drama viewers had been petitioning for SBS to reconsider the show given the responsibility broadcast stations have to society and the public. SBS was accused of failing to uphold public responsibility due to historical manipulation and distortion.