PD Of Recent Documentary About Sulli Responds To Hate Comments Being Directed At Choiza
On September 11, producing director (PD) Lee Mo Hyun gave an interview about the response to her recent documentary about Sulli.
A day earlier, MBC had released a documentary titled “Why Were You Uncomfortable With Sulli?” On the show, Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany spoke about knowing Sulli from a young age and the hate comments that Sulli dealt with about her social media use and her personal life. Sulli’s mother also appeared on the show to talk about Sulli’s childhood and her relationship with Choiza. In the documentary, Sulli’s mother said that she had disapproved of Sulli’s relationship with Choiza and that had caused friction between her and her daughter.
After the documentary aired, a wave of hate comments was directed at Choiza as well as Sulli’s mother. Gaeko, who works with Choiza in the group Dynamic Duo, posted a screenshot of an article on Instagram about the documentary’s viewership ratings and wrote, “If this was about getting the best ratings, then I’m disappointed and angry.”
In an interview with OSEN, PD Lee Mo Hyun said, “In Sulli’s case, I wanted to look in-depth and at all sides of someone who was a controversial figure. I knew that we could create more judgment about her if we weren’t careful, so we wanted to shine a light on her in the format of a in-depth documentary.”
The documentary on Sulli was part of MBC’s “Docuflex” series. “This series is about changing the way we think about people and showing the various sides of society,” she said. “On a personal level, I deeply regretted Sulli’s passing, and as someone who works in TV, I felt apologetic.”
She continued, “I spoke with Sulli’s mother first during the planning process. I knew that the family’s consent was the most important thing. The family approved of our goal to shine a new light on Sulli through the documentary and to show sides of her that other people didn’t know.
“Because Sulli is no longer with us, [her mother] thought that no one could speak up for her daughter but herself. She felt pressure about being on TV, and hesitated for a long time, but decided in the end that she wanted to do it. She did it as a gift to her daughter. Tiffany said that she wanted to talk about how difficult it was to be a female idol in South Korea. Even before she knew about our project, she wanted to talk about this. She was stuck in the United States for a while due to COVID-19, but we kept in contact and waited until she was through the self-quarantine process before she filmed her interview.”
The PD said, “Sulli’s mother said she couldn’t watch the broadcast. When Sulli was alive, she told her mother never to look at hate comments. The mother kept her promise to her daughter and never looked at hate comments. She said she wouldn’t look at comments after the documentary aired. She said that she had said what she wanted to say, so she would trust the production staff.”
About the response to the documentary, Lee Mo Hyun said, “It was a documentary about Sulli’s life. Sulli’s public relationship with Choiza was an important moment in her life. She had controversies before, but it wasn’t until that relationship that she became the target of excessive hate comments. But the most important thing is that Sulli never committed a crime, and her social media was her own personal space. She was unreservedly herself in a world that told her, ‘Idols have to act in a certain way.’ Her dating life was also her personal choice. It wasn’t like she was married or he was married. Does age difference matter if a man and woman loved each other and dated happily? I think that both Choiza and Sulli were victims of that relationship. I didn’t know that Choiza would become the target of such excessive hate comments after the documentary. The documentary was about not making people into targets like that, so I think people misunderstood if that’s the response that occurred.”
Lee Mo Hyun concluded, “Through this documentary, I wanted to show that the reason so many people were uncomfortable with Sulli and the reason that she was judged by so many people was because of our narrow perception of what a female idol could be. It was supposed to make us reflect on our prejudices. I hoped that no person would be singled out for criticism. The reason for her passing is complicated. It’s not for a single reason like hate comments or her relationship. She had a lot of anxiety, she was estranged from her family, and a lot of things around her were difficult. It’s not right to say that one thing or one person was responsible for her death. In the end, if we just make one person into a target, then nothing changes from the tragic past and painful things will just keep happening.”
In another interview, the PD added, “We had no intention of criticizing Choiza in the documentary. Sulli sincerely loved Choiza. He was someone who gave her strength, so we mentioned him in the documentary, never thinking that he would get hate comments in response. Sulli’s mother was happy that Sulli found someone when she was lonely and thanked him for making her happy. That part was edited out of the broadcast for time issues.”
However, it was reported that a complaint had been submitted about the documentary to the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC) for review.
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