K-Drama “Big Mouth” Is Under Fire For Allegedly Being Racially Insensitive To Thai Audiences

The K-Drama as yet to comment on the matter.

A Line in K-Drama Big Mouth has some Thai fans concerned it may have racial undertones.

On the July 30 episode of Big Mouth, Lee Jong Suk‘s character, Park Chang Ho,  is seen confronting a criminal. During the character’s dialogue, Park Chang Ho asks the criminal if his mother ate seaweed soup after he was born.

Did your mother eat seaweed soup after giving birth to you? I am really curious as to what she ate to have given birth to a psycho like you. Did she eat Tom Yum Kung? Or Seonji Soup?

— Park Chang Ho

For context, many Korean mothers eat seaweed soup after giving birth. In the scene, Lee Jong Suk’s character is seen asking what the criminal’s mother ate for her to have given birth to a psychopath.

It has been reported that many Thai viewers have taken exception to the scene for using Tom Yum Kung, which is a Thai Dish. Thai audiences are concerned the line may have racial undertones. According to a report by Topstarnews, Thai audiences are stating it is racist to insinuate that by the mother eating Tom Yum Kung, the child grew up to be a psychopath. Moreover, according to the news outlet, Thai audiences are lamenting the drama for its insensitivity toward their culture.

This issue has since gone viral in one of Korea’s largest online communities, where an author posted a tweet from a Thai fan.

I’m not sure, but was the K-Drama Big Mouth intending to be racist to Thailand? I’m not sure if it was translated correctly. But to ask, ‘After giving birth to a psychopath like you, did your mother eat Tom Yum Kung?’ Can someone who is fluent in Korean please analyze it?

— Theqoo translation of @saisdreaming/Twitter

Korean netizens reacted to the news, with many understanding why Thai audiences would be so upset.

  • “If on a western drama a character said the same line asking, ‘Did your mom eat Kimchi Jjigae? Chungook Jang?’ we would be upset too.”
  • “If I was in their shoes, I’d be upset too.”
  • “I did think, ‘Huh?’ while watching it too.”
  • “I understand why Thai audiences were offended.”
  • “I thought it was problematic when I watched the scene. Did they really have to use Tom Yum Kung?”
  • “I think it is offensive to South East Asians.”
  • “Did they have to do that? They should have used Korean foods.”
  • “I thought it was odd they used Tom Yum Kung in the dialogue as well.”

What are your thoughts?

Source: Topstarnews, Wikitree and Theqoo