Ji Chang Wook and Kim Yoo Jung-starrer Backstreet Rookie is under fire for a racist comment, with netizens demanding its cancellation. The show, which is considered an adult webtoon, was already off to a shaky start as it struggled to build viewership. It took three episodes for the show to capture the audience but the success was shortlived as two episodes later the show would go on to receive flak for a racist sequence.
The sequence opens with Choi Dae Hyun's friend Dal Sik having a conversation with a Nigerian customer inside a convenience store. However, in the sequence when the customer walks into the store, a fellow Korean customer seems to be startled, letting out a shocked 'Aigoo', an expression that would translate into a similar sentiment as saying 'Oh My God!"
The background music only adds to the cringe-worthy moment, attempting to give it a sense of humor which it horribly fails at. The man then proceeds to ask Dal Sik if he is a Jamaican to which he replies that he is originally Korean. The customer then says he is Nigerian after which Dal Sik goes on to explain that they are a Jamaican family and the customer repeats after him.
Nigeria or Jamaica, Get The Facts Right: Netizens
Netizens were left fuming over the way the scene was constructed. Two queries rose among them, first as to why would a Nigerian say that he belongs to a Jamaican family when Nigeria and Jamaica are two different countries and second as to why such a scene was seemingly slipped in for comic relief when it was far from being funny.
To add to the cringe Dal Sik starts dancing with the Nigerian customer to Jamaican singer Bob Marley's song "A lalalala song." This forced attempt at trying to seem funny along with a seeming difference in the way the Nigerian customer was treated left the viewers bitter over the show.
The whole sequence becomes much more offensive when the history of Nigeria and Jamaica is considered. Between 1770 and 1809 there was a huge influx of Nigerian people into Jamaica as slaves. While the 'Black Lives Matter' movement has gained momentum globally, the sequence referring to a Nigerian family as Jamaican appears in poor taste as it struggles to come across as being funny.
From Adult Webtoon to Racist Remark
The series was considered an adult webtoon and not conducive for family viewing. The audience was angry with the first episode of the drama as the producers had promised that Backstreet Rookie was a family-oriented romantic drama but aired scenes with sexual connotations. Even in this case, the person in question was Dal Sik.
Thus, after convincing the viewers that the drama was indeed a series for the entire family, Dal Sik's scene has once again caused trouble and netizens are accusing the drama of depicting scenes that insult a particular race.
So far, there has been no clarification regarding the controversy by the show's producers. However, despite the controversy, the sixth episode of the drama saw a slight increase in its ratings as it recorded a 7.9 percent viewership on June 4. The next episode will air on SBS on July 10.