Jimmy Kimmel Under Fire for Comparing BTS With COVID-19... and So is Billboard

© MARIO ANZUONITelevision host Kimmel speaks at a ceremony for recording artist Lionel Richie to place his handprints and footprints in cement in the forecourt of the TCL Chinese theatre in Los Angeles
Television host Kimmel speaks at a ceremony for recording artist Lionel Richie to place his handprints and footprints in cement in the forecourt of the TCL Chinese theatre in Los Angeles - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.01.2022
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On Thursday, the star of the show 'Emily in Paris', Ashley Park, appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to talk about the TV series and her love for K-Pop band BTS. But somehow it all turned into a racism-related scandal.
When actress Ashley Park told Jimmy Kimmel about her obsession with BTS and how she reacted when she realised that the band members knew who she was, the American host made some remarks that a lot of people online found offensive.
Netizens objected in particular to Kimmel comparing the hugely popular boy band to the coronavirus pandemic after Park revealed that she actually had COVID when she discovered that one of the BTS members shared the video of her performance of their song.

"You thought it was BTS fever," Kimmel joked, with Park agreeing. He then continued: "They’re both very dangerous. You’re lucky to come out of those alive.”

Not only has this joke backfired, prompting a wave of outrage on the YouTube comments board and in Twitter threads, but Billboard, when reporting Park's appearance on the show, exacerbated the whole sorry affair by attributing Kimmel's words to the actress. In the initial version of the article, Billboard wrote: "According to Ashley Park, the symptoms of interacting with a BTS member are eerily similar to those of COVID-19".
The outlet later edited the headline and the introduction, but it poured petrol on the flames of those outraged by both Kimmel's comments and Billboard's reporting. The host, along with the outlet, received a slew of accusations of racism, given how people of Asian origin (mainly those from China) were blamed for spreading coronavirus at the beginning of the pandemic.
For some fans, Kimmel's remarks are especially offensive because BTS appeared on the show.
People have hyped up hashtags #BillboardRacist and #StopAsianHate.
Others took time to send love to Park, whose words had tragically been distorted as she was speaking about her passion.
The actress herself described her appearance on the show as the "absolute best time". Park did not appear to comment directly on how the situation has developed, but tweeted on Saturday that she "hardly ever go[es] on Twitter or read[s] headlines".
"Grateful to those who keep me aware. Choosing positivity is something I’ll continue to try to maintain every day," she wrote. It's unclear whether the tweet is in any way connected with the online buzz.
Kimmel has not commented on the situation.
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