Producers of 'Street Man Fighter' under fire for 'sexist' comments

Poster of Mnet's ″Street Man Fighter″ (2022) [MNET]

Creatives behind the new male dance survival show "Street Man Fighter" are under fire for comments they made about the female participants of the original hit series "Street Woman Fighter" (2021), which some have interpreted as sexist.

During a press conference for "Street Man Fighter" on Tuesday, chief producer Kwon Yeong-chan said that the new show differed from "Street Woman Fighter" in that the male participants "displayed loyalty and pride more often" compared to the female participants who showed more "jealousy and greed."

"While I was planning for the second season of 'Street Woman Fighter,' I began to think that I wanted to share the stories of male dancers with the public as well," said Kwon at Stanford Hotel Korea, in Yeongdeungpo District, western Seoul.

The program's producer-director Choi Jeong-nam also commented on the differences between the male dancers and female dancers on the shows at the same press conference.

"The dance moves of women dancers and male dancers are definitely different," Choi said. "[For 'Street Man Fighter'] We really focused on shooting the dance battle scenes. The power that the male dancers display is certainly different."

He continued, "I think that the audience will be touched by the solidarity and friendships of the male participants. We hope to successfully reflect these narratives on the screen."

The creatives' comments at the press conference did not resonate with public sentiment with many taking to online platforms to criticize Kwon and Cho for having "gender stereotypes."

"For girls, it's greed and for boys its pride? I'm speechless. What kind of era is he living in?" reads a comment on local online community Nate Pann.

"'Street Woman Fighter' was the one that had all the loyalty and friendships and that's how the show became so popular," reads another comment on the platform.

Some even vowed that they would boycott the show.

"Street Man Fighter" is a spin-off of the hit dance competition show "Street Woman Fighter" which aired from August to October last year. The show saw high ratings and is considered to have shed light on street dance, a once-obscure genre in Korea. Its teenage spin-off "Street Dance Girls Fighter" also saw success when it aired between November 2021 and January 2022.

"Street Man Fighter," which premiered on Aug. 23, features eight dance crews which specialize in various dance genres such as hip-hop and krump. The teams are competing to win the title of “Street Dance King.”

The participants are Bank Two Brothers, Eo-Ddae, project dance crew Mbitious, YGX, 1Million, We Dem Boyz, Just Jerk and Prime Kingz.

Veteran singer BoA, boy band Super Junior member Eunhyuk and boy band 2PM member Jang Woo-young are the judges. Kang Daniel hosts the show.

"Street Man Fighter" airs on cable channel Mnet every Tuesday at 10:20 p.m.