The production team of Racket Boys has apologised for a recent episode of the South Korean drama that Indonesian viewers criticised as offensive and “disappointing”.
The sports-themed show, which is in its first season and streaming globally on Netflix, tells the story of a boys’ middle school badminton team in Haenam, a small county in South Korea. In its fifth episode, which aired on June 14, the team of players travelled to the Indonesian capital of Jakarta for an international competition.
According to Coconuts Jakarta, viewers criticised the events of the episode for painting Indonesians in a bad light, as the Racket Boys characters complain that their visit has been undermined by unprofessional behaviour from Indonesian tournament officials, including unfair treatment of the South Korean team.
The South Korean team’s coach even suspects the Indonesian team of conspiring against their star player, claiming that the Indonesian team “wanted to win against her, no matter what it takes”.
The depiction led Racket Boys viewers and other Indonesian netizens to take to social media with their observations and criticism.
Since a lot of the tweets originally criticising #RacketBoys are deleted/privated: The emphasis is not that they won over the other teams, it's that they implied "it's not the first time" Indonesia mistreats their guests, cheats during competition and fans have no manners. https://t.co/Pz7aUyj4YN pic.twitter.com/j7P4kz3tR8
— d.🌱💜 (@hannagyeongs) June 16, 2021
Racket Boys eps 5 menggambarkan Indonesia:
✔️Mau menang dgn segala cara.
✔️Menempatkan tim Korea latihan di GOR tua tanpa AC. Sedangkan tim Indonesia latihan di lokasi pertandingan.
Yg paling ngeselin, di final, pemain Indonesia dibantai 9-21, 7-21.
— A. Ainur Rohman (@ainurohman) June 17, 2021
Am I the only one notice with how Racket Boys describe their match in Indonesia is not welcomed?
Like the coach said
"The room is Mess, they practice in good stadium while we're forced to practice at run down place with no AC"
The assistant coach said it's not the first time.
— Tasa (@highness_sip) June 15, 2021
About Racket boys prejudice about Indonesia, i feel a bit hurt tbh. As an Indonesian who watch and support Badminton myself, i now Indonesian badminton audiences are super loud, but as far as i know we don’t do that to athletes from other countries 🙁
— May (@maysdramas) June 16, 2021
Fans have also since left comments of disapproval and outrage on the social media accounts of the show’s network Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS). Many expressed disappointment and some stated they’ve “lost respect” for SBS.
“[The] Indonesian badminton team isn’t fictional unlike your whole drama plot lol,” one commenter wrote on an Instagram post by SBS recapping the episode.
They continued, “If you have anything against certain parties, please do respectfully address the matter instead of putting their country’s name on your internationally-known media in [sic] the aim of defamation, no matter how subtle the hint was. It can be considered as racist, knowing that this ISN’T the first time we’ve been wronged, which further explains why we’re upset.”
In the comments section of the same post, SBS issued an official apology, written in Bahasa Indonesia, to fans from the show’s production team.
“We from the production team of Racket Boys would like to convey our apology regarding the match shown in episode five, we didn’t mean to degrade any particular country, player, or audience. Despite that, we apologise for a number of scenes that have offended our audience from Indonesia. We will be monitoring closely for the next episodes,” the apology reads, as translated by Coconuts Jakarta.
Produced by the company Pan Entertainment, Racket Boys premiered on SBS TV in South Korea and Netflix internationally on May 31. The show stars Kim Sang Kyung, Oh Na Ra, Tang Jun Sang, and Son Sang Yeon.