A parody on Chilean tv of the Korean boy band BTS prompted a world backlash over the weekend, illustrating the energy of the group’s many followers and a heightened sensitivity round the world to racist, significantly anti-Asian, speech.
In a short sketch on the present “Mi Barrio,” which aired Saturday on the Mega Channel in Chile, comedians satirized the South Korean supergroup, mocking the Korean language and associating the band’s members with the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un.
Asked to introduce themselves, the actors portraying the band’s members gave their names as “Kim Jong-Uno,” “Kim Jong-Dos,” “Kim Jong-Tres,” “Kim Jong-Cuatro” and “Juan Carlos.” Asked to say one thing in Korean, one comic spoke in accented gibberish.
Fans of BTS are legion and fiercely loyal. They shortly got here to the band’s protection and linked the jokes to wider problems with anti-Asian racism and xenophobia which have flared since the coronavirus surfaced final 12 months in China.
Propelled by these ardent supporters, who name themselves Army, the group has made record-breaking runs at the high of the Billboard charts, launched platinum-selling singles and gained numerous awards round the world. The group boasts the most-ever engagements on Twitter and the most video views in 24 hours on YouTube.
While utilizing their energy and numbers to advertise and defend the group, BTS followers have additionally demonstrated themselves to be a robust bloc on different points. Last 12 months, Korean pop music fans coordinated to embarrass President Donald J. Trump by inflating ticket requests at a marketing campaign rally.
At a time of elevated anti-Asian rhetoric and violence throughout the web and round the world, “Mi Barrio” shortly grew to become the goal of a bigger antiracism marketing campaign. The buying and selling card firm Topps confronted an identical backlash final week after releasing Garbage Pail Kids playing cards that have been supposed to mock the band however have been extensively perceived as racist and tone deaf.
Not confined to Spanish-language social media and BTS fan accounts, outrage about the “Mi Barrio” episode shortly unfold throughout the net, with the hashtag #RacismIsNotComedy changing into the No. 1 trending matter on Twitter in the United States on Sunday evening. It was a sign that 1000’s of individuals have been discussing the time period at the identical time.
“There is NOTHING funny about racism, especially in a time where Asian hate crimes have been rampant around the world. This is disgusting,” wrote one Twitter user.
A Chilean BTS fan account with 150,000 followers pushed folks to register a proper criticism towards “Mi Barrio” with the nation’s National Television Council, calling on the regulator to “ensure that racist attitudes and stereotypes are eliminated from Chilean television.”
In a statement posted to its Instagram account on Sunday, “Mi Barrio” struck a conciliatory, if not wholly contrite, tone. “We will continue to improve, learn, listen and strengthen our intention: to bring entertainment to families.”
BTS has not formally commented on the Chilean episode, however in a statement launched in March about elevated assaults towards Asians, the group stated, “We recall moments when we faced discrimination as Asians. We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English.”
“We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected,” the message concluded. “We will stand together.”
That assertion, launched on Twitter, has been favored greater than two million instances.