Korean sports drama series Racket Boys was slammed by Indonesian netizens over its depiction of the Indonesian badminton team, organizers and audience, which they considered “insulting” and “degrading”.
Episode Five of the 2021 series shows one of the characters, Han Se-yoon (Lee Jae-in), playing a badminton match in Jakarta, Indonesia.
In one of the scenes that triggered the backlash, the Korean national team coach Fang (Ahn Nae-sang) complains about the horrible training facility and lodging that the Indonesian organizers provided them. Another character replies by saying that “[Indonesians] are always like this.” The coach further implied that they did this so Se-yoon would lose.
In another scene, Indonesian supporters jeer Han Se-yoon at the match, with the coach saying they would not do it “if they had manners”. The Indonesian side loses the match in the end.
Indonesians then flooded the @sbsdrama.official Instagram account with comments ranging from disappointment, disgust to demands for apology.
“LOST RESPECT FOR SBS” user @adindaphana said. “Your marketing idea is not funny, ” said user @novavirgianaa.
“If you have anything against certain parties, please respectfully address the matter instead of putting their country's name on your internationally known media in the aim of defamation, ” @kyorifu said.
Syaiful Huda, who chairs House of Representatives Commission X overseeing sports, also weighed in and claimed that it was driven by envy. “Maybe because they couldn’t beat us in real life, they took revenge in the [drama], ” he said to detik.com.
SBS posted an apology later on in the same comment section that was being flooded.
“We the production team express our apologies regarding the match that was aired in episode 5, we did not mean to degrade a certain country, player or audience," the statement said in Indonesian.
“However, we apologise if there are some scenes that have offended our viewers in Indonesia. We will keep an eye on the following episodes.” – The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network