Korean Netizens Backlash’Barbie’ Event For Cultural Promotion
Seoul’s recent premiere event for the highly anticipated film ‘Barbie’ has sparked criticism among Korean netizens due to an imbalanced focus on promoting Korean culture at the expense of discussing the movie itself.
The promotional event, held at the Atrium in Seoul’s Times Square on July 2 KST, featured director Greta Gerwig, producer Tom Ackerley, and film stars Margot Robbie and America Ferrera.
While the ‘Barbie’ cast and crew interacted with fans, expressed gratitude in Korean, and answered some film-related questions posed by MC Park Kyung Lim, it was the subsequent proceedings that drew the netizens’ ire.
Lasting a mere 18 minutes, the event allocated only three minutes for discussing the film, while five minutes were dedicated to photo opportunities, including surprising Margot Robbie with a birthday cake.
Surprisingly, a significant portion of the event, ten minutes, was reserved for promoting Korean cultural heritage.
Following the Q&A session with the guests, the Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation Art Troupe took the stage adorned in hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) to perform traditional dances accompanied by Korean musical instruments.
The attention then shifted to the introduction of a special guest, hanbok tailor Park Sul Nyeo. She presented hanbok-style pieces to the cast and crew, capturing attention by subtly slipping her business card into Margot Robbie’s hanbok vest pocket.
Park Sul Nyeo proceeded to restyle Margot Robbie’s hair to complement the hanbok’s aesthetics, a moment that drew criticism from netizens for being excessively promotional and unrelated to the film.
Online communities such as Instiz and theqoo were abuzz with complaints about the event’s peculiar handling, with comments expressing disappointment and embarrassment.
Some questioned the necessity of adjusting Margot Robbie’s hair and the appropriateness of focusing on promoting hanbok at a Barbie-themed event.
Suggestions were made that a Barbie doll dressed in hanbok would have been a more meaningful gift. The insertion of a business card into Margot Robbie’s hanbok also raised eyebrows among netizens.
Furthermore, this emphasis on promoting Korean culture at a Hollywood film event reminded netizens of a similar incident involving actress Amanda Seyfried’s visit to Korea in 2013, where the focus shifted away from the intended purpose of the event due to the presence of hanbok.
Netizens shared photos from that event, drawing comparisons to the recent ‘Barbie’ premiere.
Despite the controversy surrounding the event, ‘Barbie’ is scheduled for release in South Korea on July 19.
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