The King of Tears, Lee Bang Won unexpectedly became way different from other signature historical dramas KBS made.
Since 1996, KBS has been releasing historical dramas, which all ended up being hit. As of the writing, the network has already helmed nearly 30 dramas since the 1996 to 1998 Tears of the Dragon, bringing back the history through series.
Among its other notable period dramas include Immortal Admiral Yi Sun-shin, Hwang Jini, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Love in the Moonlight, Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth, The Tale of Nokdu, and River Where the Moon Rises.
As the company attempted to release a new historical drama with The King of Tears, Lee Bang Won, KBS suffered backlash for allegedly endangering a horse on the series' set.
The King of Tears, Lee Bang Won Faces Public Rage
In a new report shared by The Korea Times, it has been revealed that the Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) issued a statement on its website and social media pages to address what happened on the series' January 1 episode.
The scene in question shows a horse falling to the ground face-first. The organization suspects that the animal's rope on its back legs caused it to helplessly drop for the part where a character tumbles from the horse.
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The now-viral behind-the-scenes footage also captured how the animal struggled to move throughout the remainder of the video. KBS already uploaded the clip on its YouTube channel but immediately removed it due to the criticisms that rose.
"It is a shame and a backwards step for a public broadcaster to treat an animal as a prop," KARA said in a statement.
The organization has already published guidelines for animal safety in media production. The document was distributed to Korean producers and filmmakers in December 2020. KBS also received the memo.
KBS Issues Apology Following Unexpected Event
Following the release of KARA's statement, KBS issued a statement and offered their apology due to the animal abuse controversy.
According to the network, it is difficult to film a falling horse in every project it does. While recording a scene is important, it assured that it has been observing the safety of both the actor and an animal.
KBS added that the series' team checked whether the horse suffered from any external injuries but found nothing. When they checked the animal's condition again a few days later. Unfortunately, it found out that the animal died a week after the incident happened.
"We cannot help but take serious responsibility for this unfortunate incident has occurred. We apologize to the viewers for not preventing this accident and causing such an unfortunate event.
KBS, in the end, assured that it would cooperate with experts to learn from its mistakes before sending apologies to the animal advocates again.
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