The South Korean broadcasting corporation MBC, one of the leading television and radio network companies, also operates an official YouTube channel, MBigNews, where the latest news segments are uploaded.
On February 25, 2022—following Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24—MBC shared a segment covering the attack titled, “The Ukrainian President… Leadership In Crisis.”
In the video, uploaded with a thumbnail captioned, “A Comedian Turned President: Unfortunately, The Real World Wasn’t A Show,” MBC referred to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a “protagonist to a dramatic story of a comedian with no political experience becoming president in 2019.” In addition, the video commented, “Zelensky’s response to the invasion has been politically amateur.”
The world is watching Ukrainian President Zelensky. President Zelensky is protagonist to a dramatic story of a comedian with no political experience becoming president in 2019. Unfortunately, upon Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, his political amateurism is receiving criticism.
Following the upload, a Ukrainian model currently residing in South Korea slammed the channel for being unprofessional and insensitive. Ukrainian television personality and model Olena Sidorchuk, from Korean shows like Charles My Neighbor and South Korean Foreigners, took to her Instagram and voiced concern in a series of Stories.
Olena criticized MBC for “pushing a political message” using the invasion of Ukraine and claimed the channel failed to “stay neutral, like media should.”
I have something to say about this.
Hello, I’m a Ukrainian person. Is it really acceptable for South Korean news to be so shamelessly producing nonsense videos? I know that the presidential election is coming up. But do not bring other countries into the propaganda like this. This video does not show the whole picture and does not cover all facts. I suppose it has been produced to deliver some kind of a message like, “Let’s vote for the right president not to end up like Ukraine.” How is this professional from a broadcasting corporation?
‘Leadership in crisis,’ huh? The Ukrainian president is failing to respond to the crisis? Does MBC as a corporation know how to respond to war? If the channel is so sure about how to protect Ukrainian freedom, please. Tell us. And what?! President Zelensky’s ‘political amateurism is receiving criticism?’ From who?
Does MBC know what President Zelensky has done for Ukraine since his election in 2019? This segment belongs in the 1980s under dictatorship and not in 2022. 72% of Ukrainian citizens voted for President Zelensky and support him. Is MBC calling our people stupid? Some might be convinced to think so, with videos like this coming from an arrogant broadcasting corporation.
Just to be clear, the Ukrainian president is a great leader who, as a comedian, established a content production company and nurtured it into a 400-employee business over two decades. He is intelligent and he knows how to work with people. The people of Ukraine voted for him because he doesn’t come from political backgrounds. Yes, he is a comedian but he has genuine love for Ukraine. If anything, it’s the politicians who are in it for the bribes who are comedians. President Zelensky’s people are not some ‘friends’ he put in office. They, too, are great and trustworthy personnel. Of course, MBC doesn’t understand any of this because it does not know anything about politics in Ukraine.
With all that has happened, President Zelensky is doing his best. Thanks to his well-made policies, Ukrainian citizens are more together than ever. The Ukrainian military is stronger than ever. Don’t forget Ukraine has been at war for the past eight years. Ukraine is no longer a small and vulnerable nation. Do not doubt for a second that Ukraine will continue to fight, whether it be against Russia or in World War 3. Ukraine will do whatever possible to win.
It takes skills to tastefully frame news segments. MBC’s channel isn’t some personal YouTube platform. It’s an official media channel. Stay neutral and report on news professionally as a broadcasting corporation should. Videos like this are groundless. For fake news like this to be coming from a broadcasting corporation? Present the viewers with real news, don’t cross lines, and be respectful to the people of Ukraine.
Please check across various media companies, including international ones, if you want to know more about what’s going on in Ukraine.
— Olena Sidorchuk
To the distressed Stories, Koreans have sided with the model and ridiculed the broadcasting corporation. Some have even apologized to Olena Sidorchuk “on behalf of MBC” and demanded the channel to apologize as well.
- “MB-f*cking-C, apologize. How many times are you going to embarrass us like this?”
- “The video is f*cking disgusting. And I bet these MBC losers can’t make a video like that about Russia.”
- “Mm. MBC at it again. I’m disappointed but not surprised.”
- “How low can MBC go, though? How does one blame the Ukrainian president and the Ukrainian people right now? That’s demonic. Like, the thought shouldn’t even be possible, if you’re human. Absolute shame on MBC.”
- “F*cking apologize. What even is this video?”
The video has since been deleted from MBC’s YouTube channel and official website. The broadcasting corporation also issued an apology in taking down the video, though it also insisted that the segment has been put together “based on the reports…by international press like the New York Times” and so “factually true.”
We produced the video in question based on the reports covering the invasion of Ukraine by international press like the New York Times. Our intention had been to help the viewers understand the different perspectives on Russia’s attack on Ukraine. The ideas covered in the video in question have appeared in other broadcasting corporations’ contents as well and are all factual.
We do, however, understand that the video may have offended Ukrainian viewers. Upon hearing the concerns about the video, we held an internal discussion and decided to remove the video. We understand why the video may have been concerning to Ukrainians. We, at MBC, stand for Ukraine and believe the invasion of Ukraine cannot be justified for any reason.
This is not the first time MBC offended Ukrainians. During the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the channel issued multiple apologies after facing immense backlash for using inappropriate pictures to describe the participating countries.