German Radio Show Host Accused Of Racism After Calling K-Pop Band BTS 'A Virus Like Covid-19'

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BTS, also knows as Bangtan Boys

No matter how popular or famous you become, there will always be those that just don’t like who you are or what you do. For BTS, a seven-member South Korean boy band, that’s the ugly side of being the biggest pop group in the entire world.

Matthias Matuschik, a German radio host for Bayern 3, recently expressed his opinion of the recent BTS cover of the Coldplay song, “Fix you”. Many people and fans of BTS saw the comments as racist and anti-Asian.

The jokes that are made about famous people and bands, like BTS, are usually light-hearted and have some humor. This, however, was not the case as the comments were highly intolerant and prejudiced. 

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What was said by the German radio host and did he apologize?

On Thursday, Matuschik went on to make a series of “jokes” about BTS’s recent cover of the Coldplay song, “Fix you” on their recent MTV Unplugged performance.

He made comments comparing the group to the Covid-19 virus and that they need to be eradicated with the vaccine. He went on to say that BTS deserves to take a “vacation” to North Korea for the next 20 years for their Coldplay cover.

Later in his rant, he attempted to protect himself from accusations of xenophobia by explaining that he drives a South Korean car.

Following the outrage from the fans and the backlash that the radio station received, Bayern 3 issued a statement in defense of their host.

They explained Matuschik was a “character” who was attempting to “express his opinion in a clear, open and ironic, exaggerated way,” according to a Distractify translation. The statement went on to say “In this instance, in an attempt to express his opinion with ironic exaggeration and with feigned over-the-top irritation, he misjudged his choice of words and thus hurt the feelings of the BTS fans.”

In a follow-up statement, the station apologized “in all forms” for his remarks but reiterated that the host is “miles away from racist views,” and continued on to say it “resolutely distances itself from any form of racism, marginalization, and discrimination.”

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Matuschik is just one of many people react harshly towards BTS.

Since BTS rose to fame in the United States, they have been the victims of racist “jokes” and disrespectful comments. Unfortunately, it seems as though there is no end in sight.

As recently as last September, many British media personalities also received backlash for their dismissive comments about the group, including a game show contestant, Anne Hegerty, who called them  “a little Korean boy band that’s fundamentally not important.”

About a year ago, a staffer on The Howard Stern Show, Salvatore Governale claimed that BTS was carrying the coronavirus, adding, “These people are traveling, they’re not locals, they’re going from country to country to country. It’s a dangerous situation.”

When these comments are looked at under a scope, they are seen as racist and extremely ignorant, however, in a bigger scope, these are dangerously anti-Asian and xenophobic.

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Who is BTS and where do they come from?

BTS, also known as Bangtan Boys is a seven-member boy band from South Korea. They were formed in 2010 and made their debut in 2013 with Big Hit Entertainment. Their group consists of Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook.

The K-pop group focuses most of its lyrics on personal and social commentary. They touch on the themes of mental health, troubles of school-age youth, loss, the journey towards loving oneself, and individualism.

Their global reach came in 2017 when they broke numerous sales records in the United States. To put their success into perspective, BTS became the fastest group since The Beatles to earn four US number-one albums. They did so in less than two years.

Their success in South Korea translates clearly to their fans who are extremely passionate and love everything about BTS. Imagine girls in the U.S. when One Direction came out except this is on a much larger scale. 

It’s clear that if you make any negative comments on BTS, let alone racist ones, you will be held accountable by the large BTS fandom, and deservedly so.

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Tomás Diniz Santos is a writer living in Orlando, Florida. He covers news, entertainment, and pop-culture topics.