Controversy surrounds soap opera Live
Controversy surrounds soap opera Live
  • Shin Hyo-jae
  • 승인 2018.04.05 14:52
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After the second episode of Live was aired on March 11, tvN was hit with negative feedback from its viewers, many of whom were Ewha students. Live is a newly released soap opera from tvN, depicting the hectic life of police at the busiest patrol division. However, the series came under fire with their second episode, more specifically, with the scene of police being deployed to break up a student protest at a university. In the episode, the co-ed university students were protesting while calling for the resignation of their president who faced corruption charges. Despite a few differences in the setting, many viewers noticed parallels between the scene and the protest against LiFE (Light Up Your Future in Ewha) College that took place in the summer of 2016. Many pointed to the extremely rare case of police deployment to university campuses and students singing “Into the New World” by Girl’s Generation as some of the many similarities, and expressed discomfort with the blatant attempt to utilize the protest as a tool for story development. In addition to the parallel depiction of protest against LiFE College, an incident that took place less than two years ago, the series’ insensitivity by tweaking the facts to utilize the incident for character development caused great discomfort among and rage from the students. The police were shown to be torn between their empathy towards the student protestors and orders to disperse them from above, which was vastly different from between their reallife counterpart that was deployed to systematically remove the protestors on the Ewha campus in 2016. “Regardless of their intention, utilizing a distorted version of an incident that occurred less than two years ago is a blunder by the crew,” said Lee Seung-won, a freshman in Design. The online community board of Live filled up with requests by viewers and students for an apology from the crew regarding the misinterpretation. As the controversy grew, tvN, the channel airing the series, gave an official statement explaining they did not intend to romanticize the police and instead to highlight the problems in the police. The controversy, however, did not dissipate, as people became more upset with tvN’s failure to acknowledge their responsibility and how enraged the students were with the insensitive alteration of events. The discussion expanded to pointing out why the settings had to be changed if certain main details that clearly pointed to the 2016 protest against LiFE College were not modified, namely: police deployment to university and “Into the New World.” “The principle agents for the LiFE College protest were women,” read one comment on the tvN online community board. “Why did the writer have to select and depict the subject matter in power and masculine perspective?” On March 21, the crew apologized for the possibility of its show unintentionally triggering stress among the students who had been on site during the police deployment in 2016 and empathized with the students’ anger through comments on the community board along with sending an official apology to the school. This time, tvN stated that they would be cutting out the controversial scene and re-editing the episode for reruns and that all online versions with the scene would be erased. “The scene was to show the contradictory environment that characters were in and to problematize the actual cause of the event in the story,” read a comment left by the tvN crew. “Despite all this, we have decided that it is correct to cut and reedit the scene if there are people who are made uncomfortable by it.” The Live scandal is the latest episode in a series of cases in which the misrepresentation of the media is causing discomfort and pain among local viewers. In this case, the lack of empathy and finesse in depicting a socially sensitive incident only caused backlash and diversion from their intended topic, the everyday life of low-ranking police officers. “I believe there should be no distortion of events in works being shown to the public, whether that work be a movie or soap opera,” said Yoo Jin, an English major. “For this incident, considering that this was a soap opera they still would want to win high ratings from viewers. But for depicting something that had happened, they shouldn’t take too much liberty in modifying the essence of the actual event.” 

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