The KBS drama, The King Of Tears, Lee Bang Won, has been suspended after being heavily criticized for the production team’s alleged abuse of animals on set, which resulted in the death of a horse. While filming a scene in which the animal and the actor were meant to fall, the production team tied wires to the horse’s legs and pulled them to cause it to trip, which resulted in injuries to both actor and animal.
This was confirmed when KAWA,(the Korean Animal Welfare Association) uploaded a video of the drama’s set that proved the horse had indeed been purposefully tripped and that insufficient safety measures had been taken. KAWA condemned the production and its complete disregard for the safety of both the horse and the actor in a statement on the same post. They made it clear that “The current Animal Protection Act regulates and prohibits “act of injuring animals for the purpose of gambling, advertising, entertainment, entertainment, etc.” as animal abuse.”
After calls from KAWA and the Animal Freedom Association for KBS to confirm on the well-being of the horse, KBS released a statement in which they admitted that the horse had passed away a week after the accident. They also admitted that there was a problem with the way these scenes were being shot in terms of the safety of the animals.
Through this matter, we have confirmed that there is a problem with how we have been filming horse chasing scenes. In the future, we will try to find another way to film and express such scenes so that similar accidents do not happen. We will cooperate with professionals and groups for their advice so as to find a way to ensure animal safety on various sets.
But despite this statement, public outcry has not abated, as now there are concerns over whether animal safety has been at all regarded in previous dramas that show similar scenes. Two petitions on the petition website Cheong Wa Dae have been garnering a lot of support from concerned viewers, as they demand a halt of the drama’s production and for new, more strict measures to be put in place for animal safety in the industry.
Due to this ongoing criticism, KBS has now officially suspended The King Of Tears, Lee Bang Won for two weeks. The two episodes that were to be aired this weekend were cancelled, as well as the special holiday episodes that were scheduled for the upcoming Seollal holiday. Additionally, the episode featuring the scene in which the horse was tripped has been made unavailable on the drama’s official website. While viewers can still see the episode on Wavve, the problematic scene has been removed from the episode.
Animal rights and protection are continuing to push heavily for accountability, and viewers have added their strong support through online petitions. Even idols such as Girls’ Generation‘s Taeyeon have spoken up about the issue.
taeyeon speaks up about the incident during drama filming, 'the king of tears, lee bang won', that caused a horse to die because its leg was tied up to create a dramatic fall.
this is so sad 😢 pic.twitter.com/NbXSODVtpn
— ᴛᴀᴇʏᴇᴏɴ ꜱᴛᴜꜰꜰ ❤🩹 (@kimtaenos) January 22, 2022
Hopefully, these efforts will lead to more responsible production methods that do not rely on risking the safety or well-being of anyone, either actors or animals.