South Korean MBC Channel apologized on its official social media pages for insensitivity, after an episode of On the Border caused outrage among the viewers.
On the Border is a mildly educational travel-based TV program that shows comedian Kim Gu Ra, actress Lee Si Young, and popular online history instructor Seol Min Seok bring guests on to the show and travel together to countries bordering each other.
The show has received some attention for its informative content. In the recent “Jordan-Israel Episode” as the program called it, however, the On the Border production team deeply offended the viewers by presenting the content without researching thoroughly.
Covered by the emoji is a picture of Prophet Muhammad, right beside the Korean word that reads “Islam”. This infuriated the viewers. They also found the flag on top of the Dome of Rock Masjid in the bottom left hand corner to be highly offensive as well.
Hashtag #withMBCApologize began trending, as the upset viewers pointed out every disrespectful detail that aired with the episode.
stopped insulting our religion and our cultures and our problems stopped. pic.twitter.com/5e27QvZWEg
— 🎧DyjaHae🐠 (@KH_sj15) June 11, 2018
— ✡️ (@allmem_) June 12, 2018
It happened on their show ‘on the border(?)’ They really had the guts to put israel’s flag on top of the Dome of the Rock Masjid in Jerusalem as if it was the most natural and normal thing to do?? Jerusalem belongs to Palestine and Palestine only #FreePalestine #WithMBCApologize pic.twitter.com/RqPZnAI0cw
— may 💫 #SQUAREUP_BLACKPINK (@chanuontop) June 11, 2018
— rony (@Rwanalonazi) June 12, 2018
MBC released an official apology statement in Korean, English, and Arabic languages. The apologies have been posted to the channel’s Twitter and other social media pages.
“This is MBC <On the Border> production team. Some images in the <Jordan-Israel episode>, primarily intended to enhance understanding on various religions, were found out to be inappropriate. We received many comments about “picture image used for Islam’s Prophet, Muhammad” and “usage of a certain national flag on the Dome of the Rock”. We deeply apologize for causing offend to Muslims and other audiences. <On the Border> was produced in order to examine the history and culture of two adjacent countries with impartial point of view. Following <U.S–Mexico episode> and <France–Germany episode>, we hope to approach the two countries’ history and culture without prejudice in <Jordan-Israel episode> as well. We will be more cautious to check and pay attention to the most detailed parts as well as the overall context, so that audiences of different cultural backgrounds do not feel offended. Once again, we express our sincere apologies. Thank you for your attention.” — MBC Channel
These apologetic “letters”, however, are not being too well received either.
😂😂😂😂😂 You're kidding me right
Is your apology by wiping out the word Israel from the letter written in Arabic only? Do you think we are idiots and We do not understand Korean or English??
Shame on you, you think we are stupid
— Maram Ali (@MaramAl90435538) June 12, 2018
— joody (@W_Bashmmakh) June 12, 2018
Oooh and another thing,, arab can read english and some of them can read korean, so correct episode’s name and remove the name of the occupation
We’re not stupid
— بؤش| Replay (@leebada1510) June 12, 2018
You are making the same mistake while appologing, it's calling "Jordan-Palestine"
— Maryem AIT-BRAIM (@BraimMaryem) June 11, 2018
— 🇵🇸 Aya Kh (@AyaKh6665) June 12, 2018
— روينَ. (@iirn_5) June 11, 2018
Apology is unacceptable We want an honest apology in the program and pledge not to repeat it again
— Maryoom_Alosaimi (@MaryoomAlosaimi) June 12, 2018
Please do more researches before approaching any culture or religion, this isn't the first time the same problem happen and we got a similar response however nothing changed
We need an official apology on your channel not just on social media
— هيا 🐰 (@Haya_ns5) June 12, 2018
As mentioned in the tweets, this is not the first time MBC channel received criticism for its insensitivity toward different religions and cultures. In 2017, the channel went through a very similar situation of offending its Muslim viewer pool with the K-Drama Man Who Dies To Live.
— Dania Mhdi🇮🇶 (@dania_mhdi) July 20, 2017
When the controversy grew, MBC aired an apology within an episode and explained everything is fictional.
Only a year since Man Who Dies To Live, MBC Channel is apologizing again for On the Border. Global viewers are not impressed.
— 💕🤭 (@hyu938) June 11, 2018
You really need to educate yourself before doing any shows or segments about religion.
Your like the Korean Fox news, always insulting Muslims.
— Rio 리요 🎩 (@ElfRRR) June 11, 2018
you can just stop talking about other's religions and cultures if you don't have enough education about it. BUT STOP BEING DISRESPECTFUL @withMBC
— Shochul 🌸 (@fxny_shosho) June 11, 2018