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‘King the Land’ team issues a statement after receiving criticism for its Arab representation in recent episodes

Since its release on June 17, 2023, “King The Land,” has been the talk of town. The show stars both South Korean singers and actors, Lee Jun Ho playing “Guo Won,” and Im Yoon Ah, a Girls’ Generation member, as Cheon Sa Rang. Viewers have been looking forward to the show every weekend in anticipation of what happens next to the characters. However, the hit romantic-comedy Netflix series recently faced controversy from their recent episodes.

Last July 8 and 9, Episodes 7 and 8 were aired. Arab Prince Samir was introduced in the new episodes. Samir plays as Gu Won’s friend back when he was abroad studying and decided to visit King Hotel, only to fall in love at first sight with Cheon Sa Rang. Over the episodes, Samir is presented as a womanizer, enjoying drinking with several different women. Gu Won even calls him a playboy. While a character like Samir may be common in other shows and movies, the point of the controversy is its disrespect for Arab culture.

King the land

With the majority of the population in Arab countries having Muslims, they adhere to the Islamic principles that discourage or prohibit alcohol consumption. But as seen in “King The Land,” Samir acts a contradicting life to the culture his character belongs in. This circumstance may also pose a different view on Arabs where the public may presume that they no longer stick to Islamic teachings.

Viewers criticized the production team behind the show and demanded a sincere apology from them.

The production team of “King the Land” responded to the controversy briefly stating:

“The characters, regions, place names, etc. appearing in the drama are fictitious settings, and there was no intention to satirize or distort a specific culture. The production team respects various cultures and will pay more attention to production so that there is no discomfort in viewing.”

Media representation plays a crucial role in how we view other cultures and lives. While such productions are all fiction, it is crucial for creators to be aware of how they present the things they want to showcase. May this controversy be a point of learning for all production teams, or even for everyone in general, to be mindful of the things we share and create.

As of this writing, “King the Land,” remains number one in the Netflix ranking of Top 10 TV Shows in the Philippines.


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