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BTS fans decry racist comments from German radio host; ‘#Bayern3Racist, racism is not an opinion’ trend

BTS fans took to Twitter to defend the group against German radio network Bayern 3 after one of its hosts made racist comments against the South Korean band.

In a clip that circulated online, radio host Matthias Matuschik was heard making disrespectful remarks against BTS, likening them to the COVID-19 virus and saying he hoped “there would be a vaccination against it soon.”

His racist comments directly referred to BTS’s successful performance on “MTV Unplugged,” where they covered British band Coldplay’s hit song “Fix You.”

As translated by a Twitter user, Matuschik said: “Nothing against South Korea. You can’t accuse me of xenophobia just because [BTS is from there]. I have a car from South Korea. But BTS … these little pissers brag about the fact that they covered ‘Fix You’ from Coldplay,” he added, calling it a “blasphemy. And that’s what I say as an atheist!”

The host then made another loaded comment: “This is sacrilege, and for this, [BTS] will be vacationing in North Korea for the next 20 years!” 

The incident was also reported by German media outlet Deustche Welle.

The remarks immediately sparked an outrage among Twitter users, even non-BTS fans, who said the German’s comments were not only racist to the K-Pop group, but also to the whole Asian community .

Bayern 3 later issued a statement, saying the host merely shared “his personal opinion on taste, regardless of the origin and cultural background of the band.”

“It is the character of this show and also of the presenter to express his opinion clearly, openly and in the raw,” said the statement. “His attempt to express his opinion in an ironically exaggerated manner and with exaggerated excitement overshot his choice of words and thus hurt the feelings of the BTS fans.”

It continued: “But he assured us, in no way [was it] intended … We apologize in all forms.”

However, BTS fans, collectively known as Army, said the statement was a non-apology and that racism could not be considered a “personal opinion.”

Matuschik, meanwhile, has yet to address the issue.

As of noontime Feb. 26, hashtags and terms related to the controversy have dominated worldwide Twitter trends: “RACISM IS NOT AN OPINION” with 545,000 tweets, “Apologize to BTS” with 224,000 tweets, and “WE LOVE YOU BANGTAN” with 143,000 tweets.

Even higher is the hashtag #Bayern3Racist with over 1.1 million tweets, followed by #RassismusBeiBayern3 with 922,000 tweets. 

Following the incident, BTS retweeted Coldplay, which said the group’s “Fix You” cover was “beautiful.”

BTS’s US distribution labels Columbia Records and Sony Music also released statements against racial injustice.

The statements also come at a time when several attacks against Asian immigrants are being reported.

BTS is known for their songs that speak out against injustice, discrimination, and abuses, among other societal issues.

“We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together. #BlackLivesMatter,” the group shared in June 2020 in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

In 2018, BTS addressed the 73rd UN General Assembly. “We have been partnering with Unicef’s #ENDviolence program to protect children and young people all over the world from violence,” said BTS leader Kim Nam-joon.

Together with Unicef, BTS has launched the “Love Myself” campaign, which they said built on the belief that “true love first begins with loving myself.”

“Tell me your story. I want to hear your voice, and I want to hear your conviction. No matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin color, gender identity: speak yourself,” said Kim Nam-joon at the UNGA. – RC, GMA News