King The Land Controversy: Arab Viewers Demand Apology; Plan to Boycott K-dramas, K-pop, and More

The controversy surrounding the portrayal of an Arab character named Prince Samir in the JTBC drama King The Land took a new turn recently. The followers of this JTBC mini-series from the Middle East demanded a proper apology from the producers. Some fans plan to boycott everything from South Korea, including K-dramas and K-pop songs, if they do not get a sincere apology from the producers.

The producers released a brief statement about the issue on Monday (July 10). They stated that the characters, places, and names featured in the mini-series are fictional. They had no intention to disappoint the viewers' while introducing the Arab character. The producers said they would focus on viewer-friendly content in the future.

Following the producers' response, the Arab viewers shared their disappointment about the production team handled the issue. Social media platforms and online sites started getting flooded with messages from viewers sharing their disagreements with the producers.

"JTBC PR team, please do a proper statement. The script did mention the country name. So apologize. King the Land is doing well so far. So please do not ruin the momentum. We do not want this to affect the cast," the Twitter user stated.

"A person wearing a hanbok speaks the Korean language, but it is not Korean. It is a fictional story. What a funny excuse. People should respect each and apologize if they make something wrong. Even kids know that!" another Twitter user wrote.

King The Land
Anupam Tripathi as Prince Samir in King The Land episode 7. Twitter

Here are a few other messages from the viewers of King The Land from the Middle East:

Despite the smearing of our reputation as Arabs, you are lying? Who wears a non-Arab shemagh? Koreans?

Duuh, he wears the specific attribute of a particular country.

They gave him an Arabic name and called him an Arabic prince making him. Do disrespectful behavior, and you tell me this is fictional!

This racism towards Arabs, and this is unacceptable. If the channel does not apologize, hatred against Koreans will spread in the Middle East.

So his traditional style of wearing shemagh/thoub is not referring to some culture and region! This arrogance is too much to handle. @jtbclove @NetflixKR
We have the total right to demand an apology.

Since when does the prince have interests in clubs, girls? They make him do things far away from our culture. Then, he drinks and whines. But in another scene, the prince has 3/4 wives. So the prince is Muslim? They are disrespecting our religion.

Oh yes! Because being Arab, speaking the Arabic language is all fiction, right? It is not a fantasy drama. So I could at least excuse this. We will never accept this and will boycott this cheap drama. Your Arab audience is a lot between.

If it's fiction, why is he an Arab prince, and why the lead actress speaks Arabic? Why is he wearing the traditional outfit? You could use an Indian or a Korean man wearing a traditional dress. He does these offensive scenes with Korean girls. Is this okay for you?

This article was first published on July 10, 2023