Heo Mi Soon-led Broadcasting Review Sub-committee of the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC) held a plenary session to discuss petitions against the tvN and Netflix original drama It's Okay To Not Be Okay for sexually objectifying the characters. The members submitted their opinions and recommended judicial sanctions on the production team.
The decision was submitted on August 26. The team explained that the Kim Soo Hyun- Seo Ye Ji starrer drama included content symbolizing sexual organs, slander, justification of sexual harassment, besides using explicit verbal abuse.
Why Did the Committee Recommend Sanctions?
The Korea Communications Standards Commission issued a statement in this regard. "Considering that it is an expression to highlight the characters of the characters in the drama, broadcasting content that has possibly focused on the libido on non-sexual objects that symbolize the sex organs and justify sexual harassment clearly shows the lack of gender sensitivity of the production team, the statement read.
The excessive verbal abuse that is used in the drama is aired during the 'youth viewing protection time' has inevitably led to court sanctions," added the statement. Now the extent of punishment depends on the degree of violation of broadcasting rules. The court sanctions will be finalized during the next plenary session. It is not sure if the actors will also be punished for their participation in the drama that is being termed as sexually explicit.
However, the drama received much praise from the international audience as it dealt with the difficult subject of mental illness including autism, anti-social disorder, depression etc. The female lead of the drama, Ko Mun Young, played by Seo Ye Ji suffers from anti-social disorder and is shown using verbal abuses constantly. However, her character is the one that does not care about others. A completely different side of hers is revealed when her wounds created by a trauma are healed. Her transformation from a verbally abusive writer to a person who really cares about others the drama is shown effectively.
The drama also has a murder mystery, where a woman (Ko Mun Young's mother) shows no remorse after killing another person and even goes on to justify her actions. However, she is punished for her deeds while her mental condition still remains the same.
Sexual Harassment Justified in the Drama?
One scene that attracted criticism was when Ko Mun Young enters the room when the male lead Moon Gang Tae (played b Kim Soo Hyun) is changing his clothes. She touches his abs and makes a sexual move. This was termed as harassment and the female lead's actions were slammed.
Another powerful scene of the drama is when Kwak Dong Yeon enters the psychiatric hospital as he suffers from delusions. He was shown flashing at the female protagonist and also dancing almost naked at the campaign of his father who is a politician. These actions stemmed out of the character's mental illness.
The role of Moon Sang Tae (played by Oh Jung Se), who plays Kim Soo Hyun's autistic elder brother, had been portrayed effectively and has won many hearts for the bond they share and their emotional performances. It is not known if the review committee received any complaints against the scenes dealing with autism.
Many people have opined that the drama has boldly dealt with the issues that are considered a taboo in society. But it is not clear which scenes were taken into account by the review committee as male genitalization, slander and sexual harassment.
The production ream of It's Okay To Not Be Okay has not reacted to the recommendation of sanctions yet.
Whether it is really okay to not to be okay or if the issues dealing with mental illness will continue to be treated as taboo is the big question.