“King the Land” hit with criticism about problematic cultural representation, “This is disrespectful” 

“King the Land” is under another wave of criticism for being culturally insensitive. 

In episode 7, the series introduced an Arab prince named Samir played by the Indian actor Anupam Tripathi – who is known for his “Squid Game” role Ali Abdul. In this episode, Gu Won (Lee Jun Ho) has to welcome a VIP at the King Hotel. However, Gu Won cannot foresee that the guest is captivated by Cheon Sa Rang’s (Yoona) beauty. The Prince persistently tries to flirt and make a move on Sa Rang. 

The controversial character in question
The controversial character in question
The controversial character in question

However, the character was met with polarizing opinions. While some audience members enjoyed Anupam’s appearance, others took offense with the character. They took issue with the series’ take on an Arab figure as an alcoholic and a womanizer. They were also troubled by the fact that he was portrayed by an Indian actor. 

The Arab Prince played by Anupam Tripathi
The Arab Prince played by Anupam Tripathi

Many viewers raised their opposing opinions and demanded the “King the Land” cast to apologize. They affirmed that Arab people did not drink nor go to bars, or touch women inappropriately. Such cultural insensitivity upset Arab fans, more so when he was portrayed by an Indian actor. “What do you want to convey by insulting the Arabs? We don’t drink. We don’t go to bars. The men don’t touch the women,” “This isn’t the first time they show/ try to distort our culture like this disrespectful/disgusting way in their projects,” and “They brought an Indian actor, put him in Arab traditional clothes, and make him act as if he’s uneducated and obsessed with alcohol and girls… We need an apology,” said fans. 

On Instagram, many users demanded the “King the Land” crew remove scenes with Prince Samir in it. However, the team has not spoken up about the matter. 

Previously, “See You in My 19th Life” was embroiled in a controversy where the drama allegedly misrepresented Arab people’s historical narratives. When the series brought up a man from the 10th century who invented alcohol called Arak – the predecessor of modern-day Soju – it was met with criticism from Iranian fans, who claimed that it was an Iranian alchemist named Razi who invented the drink. They referred to well-documented historical records to prove the point. 

Iranian fans also brought attention to the matter on Netflix’s Instagram. However, the “See You in My 19th Life” production team has not responded to the allegation. 

Source: k14, allkpop, koreaboo
Image: Netflix

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