YoonA and Lee Junho
"King The Land" stars instagram.com/jtbcdrama


  • "King The Land" faced criticism for allegedly distorting the Arab culture
  • Showrunners denied the claims, reminding viewers that the series is "fictitious"
  • Anupam Tripathi portrayed an alcoholic and womanizer Arab prince on the show

"King The Land" faced massive backlash over its recent episode, which stirred controversy on social media for allegedly distorting Arab culture. But the showrunners have clapped back, clarifying that the drama is "fictitious."

Over the weekend, JTBC and Netflix dropped the seventh episode of the hit romantic-comedy drama, which featured Indian actor Anupam Tripathi — popularly known as Ali Abdul from "Squid Game" — as a wealthy Arab Prince named Samir, per Allkpop. But the portrayal of his character didn't sit well with most viewers, especially those from Middle Eastern and Muslim cultures.

During the episode, Samir was portrayed as a womanizer and an alcoholic. He was seen hanging out in a luxurious club surrounded by women and was labeled a "playboy" who made girls fall in love with him. Viewers deemed the portrayal "disgusting and racist," while others slammed the showrunners for casting an Indian actor to play an Arab character.

Some social media users also alleged that the South Korean broadcaster, JTBC, was disrespectful and attempted to distort their culture by shedding a negative light on them, considering Muslims aren't traditionally allowed to drink alcohol.

Many users have also flooded Netflix Korea's Instagram account, demanding an apology.

Following the controversy, the showrunners released an official statement addressing the issue, saying, "The characters, regions, and place names appearing in the drama are all fictitious settings. They are not depicted as princes of a specific country," according to a statement to South Korean media outlet Chosun.

"King The Land" centers on the hate-to-love relationship between a hotelier named Cheon Sa Rang (Im Yoon-ah), who is described as a "smile queen," and the brooding heir to the lavish King Group's chain of hotels, Goo Won (Lee Jun-ho). It has since dominated the Netflix Global charts, ranking No. 1 in the non-English TV show category with 4 million total views in the week dated June 26 to July 2.

The series is scheduled to air every Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 p.m. (KST) on JTBC and streaming platforms TVING in South Korea and Netflix. It will run for 16 episodes, with the last episode airing on Aug. 6.

"King The Land" previously achieved its highest rating yet in South Korea, scoring an average nationwide rating of 12.3%.

King The Land
"King The Land" poster instagram.com/jtbcdrama