Snowdrop, an upcoming series starring Blackpink's Jisoo and actor Jung Hae-in, has become the latest K-drama to be embroiled in controversy over alleged historical inaccuracies.
Last week, fantasy period drama Joseon Exorcist was cancelled after airing just two episodes, incurring huge losses for the production company. It had come under fire for depicting the third king of the Joseon dynasty killing innocent people and the fourth king receiving a guest with Chinese food such as mooncakes.
Even though Snowdrop has not aired, the plot and character descriptions which were leaked prompted outrage and an online petition to stop production.
Based on these leaked details, some have inferred that the plot revolves around a North Korean spy and the South Korean pro-democracy movement in the 1980s.
The controversy erupted as critics said that North Koreans had no influence on the pro-democracy movement and demanded that the drama be cancelled.
Broadcaster JTBC, which had denied last week that the drama glorified North Korean spies and the national intelligence agency, issued a longer, detailed statement this week to clear up the matter.
"The current controversies stem from combining fragmented information from an incomplete synopsis and character introductions that were leaked online. Suspicion has been added to fragmented information, making false information seem true," JTBC said of the drama which will be aired in the second half of the year.
According to the broadcaster, Snowdrop is a romantic drama set during the 1987 presidential election, a pivotal point in South Korean history.
The JTBC statement also said that the drama does not focus on the pro-democracy movement and the main characters do not participate in it.
There was also controversy over the name of Jisoo's character, Eun Young-cho, which is similar to that of a prominent pro-democracy activist, Chun Young-cho.
JTBC clarified that the fictional character was not based on the real-life figure and the name will be changed.
Besides an online petition to stop production, which has garnered more than 140,000 signatures, netizens also mobilised a truck bearing protest signs and drove it to the JTBC building in Seoul on Tuesday (March 30).