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Ji Chang-Wook & Kim Yoo-Jung’s New Drama, Backstreet Rookie Sparks Controversy For “Sexualising Minors”

Backstreet Rookie

Ji Chang-Wook and Kim Yoo-Jung‘s latest k-drama, Backstreet Rookie premiered it’s pilot episode on Friday, 19 June this year only to be met with criticisms by South Korean locals. So much so that the Korea Communications Standards Commission (the nation’s internet censorship body) has reportedly received over 6000 complaints regarding the premise of the television series.

Based off a popular web-toon titled Convenience Store Saet-byul, Backstreet Rookie‘s plot revolves around Ji Chang-Wook’s character, Choi Dae-Hyun who is a clumsy yet charming convenience store owner. He ended up running the store at a young age after leaving his previous job at a large corporation. Jung Saet-Byul (played by Kim) is a teenage part-time employee at Choiโ€™s convenience store and an unlikely relationship develops.

The romantic comedy already made some headlines prior to its pilot episode due to the 12 year age gap between the two stars, Kim being 20-years-old. However, this was quickly forgotten due to the stars amazingly good looks and chemistry. Fans were eager to watch these two stars on-screen.

The show was promoted to be family friendly with humorous and over-the-top comedy. Unfortunately, Backstreet Rookie is off to a rough start as netizens fiercely criticised the show for “sexualising high school girls”, “using prostitution as a point of humour” and allegedly plagiarising a “manga illustration” scene from the Japanese film Bakuman, just to name a few.

In most scenes, Saet-Byul and other high school characters wore uniforms with short skirts and low, voyeuristic camera angles are often used in these scenes, making some netizens uncomfortable. “I turned the channel as soon as I saw some nasty camera angles,” one person wrote. Another commented, “You know, there are adult channels for sh*t like this.” The netizen then went on to state a valid criticism, “Why would you bring a clearly 19+ webtoon based K-Drama to SBS? Who agreed to this?”

Other netizens stated that even in the first scene when Saet-Byul meets Dae-Hyun (Ji Chang-Wook’s character), she asked him to help her buy cigarettes before kissing him and giving him her phone number. In this scene, Saet-Byul was wearing her school uniform, indicating that she was clearly a minor.

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Most of the complaints received by Korea Communications Standards Commission was fuelled by the fact that the SBS production crew had assured the public prior to its release that, โ€œBackstreet Rookie will be a family-friendly drama that highlights the small but significant joys found in everyday lives,” despite it’s 19+ rated source material.

The producers of the show have yet to address these criticisms. Hopefully, they will be able to resolve this controversy in the upcoming episodes.

Stay tuned for more updates!


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