New JTBC Drama “Insider” Receives Mixed Reviews For Allegedly Disrespecting Buddhism

“This can only be seen as a malicious act…”

JTBC‘s new drama Insider is facing backlash after its first episode.

Kang Ha Neul in poster for “Insider” | JTBC

The drama aired its first episode on June 8. The episode shows a group of Buddhist monks gambling large amounts of money. One of the monks is shown saying a Buddhist chant while gambling.

Buddhist scene on drama “Insider” | JTBC

The episode has since faced backlash from Buddhists in Korea for defaming the religion. The Korean Conference of Religions for Peace slammed the episode on June 9.

An unfortunate event occurred on the drama Insider. In a temple room with a statue of Buddha present, monks are shown gambling a large amount of money for 15 minutes.

— The Korean Conference of Religions for Peace

The conference then asks the drama to apologize for the depiction of the monks and Buddha.

This can only be seen as a malicious act to smear the religion of Buddhism, as well as dismiss those who follow Buddhism and is a libelous depiction of monks. We formally ask the drama ‘Insider’ to apologize.

— The Korean Conference of Religions for Peace

Some netizens who watched the drama expressed their discomfort, stating, “It was uncomfortable watching the scenes,” “I felt this crossed a line,” and “Did they have to depict Buddhism this way?

There were, however, some netizens who felt that the drama’s freedom of speech should be protected, “This is freedom of expression,” “I think you’re trying to magnify the issue,” and  “Watch the drama as a drama, nothing more.

Kang Ha Neul in “Insider” | JTBC

Buddhism is a major religion in Korea, and Buddhist holidays are widely observed. According to the 2016 South Korean Census, 35% of Koreans who were religious identified themselves as Buddhist.

Koreans celebrating Buddha’s birthday | @Kor_visitkorea/Twitter
Source: Newsis