When Anti-Asian Parody Focused BTS, the Boy Band’s Fan Military Mobilized

A parody on Chilean tv of the Korean boy band BTS prompted a global backlash over the weekend, illustrating the ability of the group’s many followers and a heightened sensitivity around the globe to racist, notably 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.

Requested 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.” Requested to say one thing in Korean, one comic spoke in accented gibberish.

Followers of BTS are legion and fiercely loyal. They rapidly got here to the band’s protection and linked the jokes to wider problems with anti-Asian racism and xenophobia which have flared for the reason that coronavirus surfaced final 12 months in China.

Propelled by these ardent supporters, who name themselves Military, the group has made record-breaking runs on the prime of the Billboard charts, launched platinum-selling singles and received numerous awards around the globe. The group boasts the most-ever engagements on Twitter and essentially the most video views in 24 hours on YouTube.

Whereas 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. Final 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 around the globe, “Mi Barrio” rapidly turned the goal of a bigger antiracism marketing campaign. The buying and selling card firm Topps confronted an analogous backlash final week after releasing Garbage Pail Kids playing cards that had been supposed to mock the band however had been extensively perceived as racist and tone deaf.

Not confined to Spanish-language social media and BTS fan accounts, outrage in regards to the “Mi Barrio” episode rapidly unfold throughout the net, with the hashtag #RacismIsNotComedy turning into the No. 1 trending matter on Twitter in the US on Sunday evening. It was a sign that 1000’s of individuals had been discussing the time period on the similar time.

“There’s NOTHING humorous about racism, particularly in a time the place Asian hate crimes have been rampant around the globe. That 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 Nationwide Tv Council, calling on the regulator to “make sure that racist attitudes and stereotypes are eradicated from Chilean tv.”

In a statement posted to its Instagram account on Sunday, “Mi Barrio” struck a conciliatory, if not wholly contrite, tone. “We are going to proceed to enhance, be taught, hear and strengthen our intention: to convey leisure to households.”

BTS has not formally commented on the Chilean episode, however in a statement launched in March about elevated assaults towards Asians, the group mentioned, “We recall moments once we confronted discrimination as Asians. We have now endured expletives with out motive and had been mocked for the best way we glance. We had been even requested why Asians spoke in English.”

“We stand towards racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and all of us have the best to be revered,” the message concluded. “We are going to stand collectively.”

That assertion, launched on Twitter, has been appreciated greater than two million instances.

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