18:35 GMT16 April 2021
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    Matthias Matuschik has called BTS “blasphemy”, referring to one of the biggest names in contemporary world music as a “crappy virus” that the public should be immunised against. While his employer attempted to defend him, citing his right to free self-expression, netizens viewed the comments as an instance of blatant racism and xenophobia.

    A German radio anchor has landed in hot water after comparing the wildly popular K-pop band BTS to the novel coronavirus, with the connection deemed by fans as something flagrantly “wrong”.

    As Matthias Matuschik portrayed BTS as "some crappy virus that hopefully there will be a vaccine for soon as well", many on social media energetically hit back by sharing the quote "racism is not an opinion" in English, Korean, and German alike.

    Others said the radio host’s comment had signalled anti-Asian racism, charging they wouldn’t “tolerate this”, despite Matuschik having since apologised for the remarks.

    “I’m so pissed right now, that’s something so wrong and disrespectful to say”, someone fumed.

    Many more echoed the stance, posting no less emotional remarks:

    On Wednesday, during his show on Bayern3, Matuschik played BTS’ cover of Coldplay's "Fix You" on his show, calling it "blasphemy".

    "For this you will be vacationing in North Korea for the next 20 years!" he added.

    After going on to draw parallels between the band and COVID-19, he attempted to backtrack, telling listeners:

    "You can't accuse me of xenophobia. I have a car from South Korea. I have the coolest car ever".

    Bayern3 also came up with a statement on Thursday arguing that “it is the character of this show and also of the presenter to express his opinion clearly, openly and unvarnished”. It added that the anchor must have “overshot the mark in his choice of words", but there was no intention whatsoever to hurt the feelings of BTS fans.

    After his comments caused so many waves, Matuschik for his part also issued a statement saying:

    "I have thought a lot in the past few hours and I understand and accept that I could have racially insulted many of you, especially the Asian community, with my words”, he said, leaving a bit of room for empathy.

    "That was never my intention, but I know that in the end it is how the words are received by the recipients - and not how they were meant", he added.

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    Tags:
    racism, xenophobia, music, k-pop, BTS
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