KBS is seriously under some boiling hot water right now as the production crew of the popular and currently airing K-Drama ‘King of Tears’ purposefully killed a horse in order to make an action scene more realistic.
According to reports, on January 20th an animal abuse video was posted on social media alongside the news of a petition formed from the Animal’s Freedom and Solidarity group in Korea. It raised the issue of animal abuse taking place when KBS’s ‘King of Tears’ was filming scenes using horses. On November 2nd of last year, the crew was filming the scene of character Lee Sung Gye (actor Kim Young-cheol) falling off of his horse. However, due to possible budget issues and a lack of time (alongside the pressure to infamously work quickly) to film the drama, it resulted in the crew concocting a speedy but unethical method to capture this action scene and make it more “realistic.”
The crew tied two ropes to the horse’s leg and when provoked to run forward, the horse was purposefully tripped and pulled backward in order to fall flat and create a lunge that sent the actor soaring off his horse. After the methods were revealed on social media, controversy sparked and turned the heads of many concerned netizens. The Animal’s Freedom and Solidarity group then posted a petition on the KBS viewer petition bulletin board for the controversy over animal abuse and obtained signatures from about 7,000 people thus far. They are aiming to proceed with a national petition.
The video left netizens disgusted as you can visible see no protective gear, boundaries, or mats were in place for the protection of both the actor and the horse. The dramatic drop and heavy sound of the horse’s body slamming headfirst into the ground left netizens stunned. “Even the actor is visible in pain as he plunged forward,” posted one viewer. Warning, graphic video ahead. Watch with caution.
Many Korean comments left by netizens on the petition board and SNS posts stated their disgust and concern. “I can’t watch this…,” “This is clear abuse and terrible,” “I read that the horse even died and the crew didn’t know,” and “This is seriously too much and the drama should just be cut off.”
“It’s a pity that KBS, a public broadcaster, carried out such filming without minimal guidelines related to animal abuse,” stated the petition creator. “We will try to change the fundamental rights of animals with this opportunity after having an official meeting with KBS about the matter.” Many experts agreed it was unnecessary to film that way. It was confirmed that the producer did check in on the horse almost three weeks after the filming. He believed that there were no visible injuries and the horse got right back up on its feet after falling but it was confirmed that the horse had died within the week from a broken neck.
KBS responded saying, “We feel a deep responsibility for what occurred. There was a problem with the method of filming the scene. We will find other ways to shoot and convey such accidents in these scenes so that this kind of situation does not recur again. We will also find ways to ensure the safety of animals at various filming sites through advice and cooperation from related animal organizations and experts.”
Many even questioned the actors involved and wondered how they could get on and ride the horse knowing this would happen. It was a scene that could have easily been recreated or edited through CGI effects but to save money and time, both the crew and actor went down this ridiculous route.
The director commented saying, “I am feeling deeply responsible for such a sad incident. I apologize repeatedly to the viewers because something unfortunate happened and we could have prevented this accident.” Now, the issue of Animal Rights and Abuse laws are a larger concern in Korea, as it is stated animals cannot be abused for the purpose of entertainment, gambling, illegal fights and distribution, alongside other clauses. The world is waiting to see how the petition’s results will unfold and the goverment’s response to KBS for breaking the law and killing an innocent animal.
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*Notice: If the link to the Korean petition can be found, posted, and eligible for international signatures, this post will be updated*