Joseon Exorcist Cancelled... why oh why? (A Thread)

Oy vey, here I was ready to start watching a Kdrama again after so many months and what happened?! It got cancelled after only two episodes. As Western social media erupts in disbelief and anger, I sit here and think: "I get it". 

During the last two weeks, I got diversity/implicit bias/racism training at my university. The take of the teacher was: don't seek to change the system, start with yourself. So, take this post as a reflection of myself as a Western viewer of Asian entertainment looking at a cultural and political context I may understand intellectually but not emotionally. 

In the communication about why the drama got so much flak, there were several reasons: historical inaccuracies, use of Chinese props/food/clothing, foreign viewers that would get the wrong impression after watching this. Now, many of my friends reacted incredulously to number one and number three, rightfully pointing out that historical inaccuracies can hardly be a reason for pulling a drama because, come on! was Kingdom historically accurate??! - and feeling belittled almost that anyone could seriously think we couldn't distinguish between history and fiction! 
That is not the point, however. 
Step away from your emotions for a moment (learned that about implicit bias and the "emotional brain") and start listening to the Koreans that are speaking out right now. You will immediately understand that "historical inaccuracies" don't equal "historical inaccuracies": It's the context that makes all the difference between those that are acceptable and those that are not.  

The context of this debacle is several months of hot cultural conflict between China and Korea that builds on decades (or maybe I should say centuries) of tensions between the countries. 
a tweet by a Korean Twitter user

Fact is, in recent months, Chinese nationalists on social media have claimed various elements of Korean culture (Hanbok, Kimchi) as originally Chinese. Worse, the Chinese government has claimed various traditional Korean arts as "Chinese ethnic minority culture". Given these ongoing tensions (that the media report about quite frequently too) it is simply baffling that a Korean drama production uses Chinese swords, clothes, and food when portraying early Korean history. So, it's not about historical inaccuracies per se but about these specific inaccuracies that seem to validate the Chinese nationalist position. In addition, and that is where the "foreign viewers will get the wrong impression" comes in, the show portrays the Joseon dynasty's founder as a murderous demon. That's just like showing a finger to a sensitive country's national pride, isn't it?
There are reports that at least one historical consultant voiced concerns to the production team but was ignored. Whoever made the decision to do go ahead with this either completely misjudged the situation or simply didn't care. How is that possible, we may ask, wasn't it obvious this would cause a massive backlash? 
It's always obvious from hindsight. I bet the production team ignored the warnings because from their own position, cultural appropriation is not a big issue and they didn't want to change anything because it seemed a hassle or maybe they were just too full of themselves. Indeed, it's good to realize that not everyone feels the same as we do. That also means: Not all Koreans are outraged, not all Chinese are bully colonizers, but a sufficient amount of Koreans thought this was a complete no-go and enough Chinese bullies are flexing their colonizer muscles. 
But even more important is this: as Western viewers, we should just watch and listen before we judge. Culturally sensitive topics are so much more present nowadays than they used to be because more and more people realize that what has been taken for granted for so many years is simply not okay. 
This is how to navigate these issues: listen to those who think they're wronged and simply accept that they feel this way. If you, your ethnicity, your country is accused of hurtful behavior, don't go on the defensive and start belittling other's feelings. Listen and think about the issue and if the other side has a point. If you are on the sidelines, it's better not to be too opinionated. I, as a Western viewer, am not entitled to demand anything from Korean entertainment. If I don't like that they keep casting sexual offenders, I don't watch. If I don't like the way they portray women, I don't watch. If I don't like the production and work ethics, I don't watch.  

I was excited about this show and might have enjoyed it. But I also fully understand why this production was cancelled. Entertainment is culture and culture is political. Sometimes, that plays no role. Sometimes, it does. Approach other cultures like you want others to approach yours. 

Happy to discuss further in the comments section - please be polite.