The SBS fantasy series “Joseon Exorcist” is under criticism as it depicts a Korean prince treating a Catholic priest to Chinese foods. Screen captured from SBS TV series

Korean broadcaster drops TV series due to historical controversies

South Korean broadcaster SBS decided to cancel “Joseon Exorcist” in just two episodes as the fantasy TV series caused criticisms over its historical errors.

Set in the early 15th century during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), the zombie drama depicts the fights against evil spirits to get off to a solid start this week.

But the 16-episode show generated controversies for using Chinese-style costumes and props at a time when Koreans express anger due to China’s recent claims to kimchi and hanbok.

The former is Korea’s most famous side dish while the latter is its traditional clothes. The two are recognized as the country’s most-loved heritages.

Over the past several months, some Chinese web users have insisted kimchi and hanbok are a part of their own cultural identity, thus angering the Korean public.

Against this backdrop, its financial sponsors like Samsung Electronics pulled their advertisements and shed their ties with the controversial show.

“We decided to put an end to the broadcasting contract of ‘Josen Exorcist’ and drop its broadcasts,” SBS said in a statement with an apology.

Production of the historical series has almost been completed, and SBS already paid for its TV rights. But the Seoul-based broadcaster opted to take the financial losses amid the rising uproar.

Its production studios also expressed their regret for “hurting Korean viewers,” promising to scrap global sales contracts and take it down on all platforms across the world.

They spent almost $30 million on the series. Included in its producers are Crave Works, YG Studioplex, and Lotte Cultureworks.

The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.