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.
A German radio presenter equating the South Korean band BTS with Covid-19, a virus which has killed 2.5M+ & devastated the lives of hundreds of millions, reflects the *age-old* anti-Asian sentiment called “yellow peril.” Anti-Asian racism is a global, historic & systemic issue.— Min Jin Lee (@minjinlee11) February 26, 2021
We won't tolerate this. https://t.co/m9oLv5wyFA— Paper Magazine⁷ (@papermagazine) February 26, 2021
“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:
tw // racism— ᴮᴱ𝐿𝑜𝓋𝑒𝓁𝓎⁷⟭⟬ ⟬⟭ (@moonchildxo0613) February 27, 2021
a german radio host was talking immensely badly about BTS, comparing them to COVID and mentioning blasphemy and north korea, this can’t be tolerated!
pls email bighit about this as well!#RassismusBeiBayern3#Bayern3Racist pic.twitter.com/g7jNVDW05S
Before we’re ARMY, we’re human, and we cannot accept blatant racism displayed by media figures.— BTS CANADA PROJECTS⁷ (@BTSxCanada) February 26, 2021
Support @bangtan_germany, @ger_unite_bts and German ARMY demanding corrective action for the behavior of radio host Matthias Matuschik @MMatuschik at @bayern3.#RacismBayern3
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.