Indonesians angered over ‘unfair’ portrayal in K-drama ‘Racket Boys’

SBS TV’s apology in Indonesian in the comment section of the most recent Instagram post about ‘Racket Boys’. Screenshot from Instagram/@sbsdrama.official
SBS TV’s apology in Indonesian in the comment section of the most recent Instagram post about ‘Racket Boys’. Screenshot from Instagram/@sbsdrama.official

Just when we thought that we would pass another week without hearing about Indonesian netizens causing ruckus on the web, the very thing has happened again ⁠— though this time, we can see where their anger is coming from. 

It all started when popular K-drama Racket Boys ⁠— currently airing on South Korean TV station SBS TV and streamed internationally on Netflix allegedly portrayed Indonesians as “willing to cheat their ways” during the South Korean team’s visit to Jakarta for an international competition. The sports drama itself tells the story of 16 boys and girls in a middle school badminton club coached by a legendary player and the challenges they face in chasing their dreams of becoming top athletes.

In the fifth episode of the series, the South Korean team officials were gathering at a restaurant in Jakarta when Coach Fang (Ahn Nae-sang), the national team trainer, complained about tournament organizers not treating them fairly.

“Gosh. Such bad manners,” Coach Fang said, as another man tried to calm him down.

“The rooms are a mess, and they practice at the stadium while we’re forced to practice at some run-down place with no air conditioner. Those jerks,” he continued.

Coach Fang was suspicious of Indonesia, alleging that something must be going on to weaken their star player Han Se-yoon, and even said that the Indonesian national team “wanted to win against her, no matter what it takes.”

Despite the problematic scenes, the drama tried its best to portray Indonesia and its passionate badminton fans, and had included Indonesian extras for the match scenes. There’s a catch, however, as the Indonesian fans were seen jeering and showing their thumbs down towards Se-yoon in the show.

The scene sparked anger among Indonesian K-drama fans, who have since swarmed the Instagram pages of @sbsdrama.official and @sbsnow_insta and accused them of racism, while demanding an apology to the Southeast Asian country, to name a few. “Disappointed,” “Lost respect,” are the most common comments among the sea of thumbs down emojis.

“SBS please don’t speak or portray Indonesia from the negative side because you can trigger opinions that are against our country with words that are harmful to us,” reads one of the longer comments.

Despite the negative comments, there are a handful of Indonesians who remind their fellow countrymen to mind their manners in the comment section.

Earlier today, SBS’ official Instagram page @sbsnow_insta wrote an apology in Indonesian in the comment section of the most recent post about Racket Boys.

“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 apologize for a number of scenes that have offended our audience from Indonesia. We will be monitoring closely for the next episodes,” the apology reads.


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Reader Interactions


  1. For me, is clear who only think about money, and who are really care about badminton!
    I think Indonesia should start demanding royalties from SBS. SBS has taken advantage of the Sudirman Cup popularity. Even Marcus and Kevin poster are also not spared from this stingy producer.
    In America, film producers always pay royalties when useing names, pictures or anything related to the NBA, NFL or their athletes. We are aware, running a league it is not cheap! Moreover, the cost to defending a world cham titel!

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