KBS’s drama “The King of Tears, Lee Bang-won”, which is gaining huge popularity with high ratings of more than 10%, has been embroiled in a serious controversy.
On January 19th, the Korean Animal Welfare Association issued a statement, saying, “We demand an improvement from KBS because their drama production is exposing animals to death and injury threats and not keeping safety standards.”
The Korean Animal Welfare Association pointed out a scene from episode 7 of “The King of Tears, Lee Bang-won” in which the main character Lee Sung-gye (Kim Young-chul) fell off while riding a horse, claiming that it was obviously an act of animal abuse. According to the Korean Animal Welfare Association’s statement, in that scene of episode 7, the horse’s body was turned over about 90 degrees, and its head hit the ground.
They continued to criticize the drama, saying, “The safety issues related to animals used for broadcast filming are not things that happen only yesterday or today. In particular, with horses that often appear in historical dramas, people normally use the method of winding the horses’ ankles with fishing lines to create scenes that look like they are falling down for real. However, such directing in episode 7 of this drama is likely to cause fatal injuries to the animal. Moreover, actors in charge of these kinds of action scenes may also be injured due to unpredictable reactions from animals.”
The Animal Association also emphasized, “Since both humans and animals are to be at risk during such filming, there is a trend in the global film industry that animals are replaced by computer graphics or objects, and our domestic drama production are also changing in the same way. We often see that the phrase, “Animals were safely filmed without being exposed to danger during the filming process”, is often inserted in broadcasts. However, it was clearly revealed through ‘The King of Tears, Lee Bang-won’ that broadcaster KBS still treats animals as props for broadcasting and does not follow the trend of the modern time.”
On the same day, Cho Hee-kyung, CEO of the Korean Animal Welfare Association, emphasized, “The fact that public broadcaster KBS is treating animals as props for broadcast filming is such a shameful action that goes against the times”, adding, “KBS should prepare practical regulations to ensure animals’ safety when filming and measures for animals’ safety during broadcast featuring animals.”
KBS has received all information and delivered them to the production team to confirm.