German radio station apologises for comment on K-pop stars BTS, says host ‘not racist’

  • Bavarian station Bayern 3 said Matthias Matuschik had gone too far comparing the band to Covid-19
  • They defended the host, saying he had stood against xenophobia, but added they would work with him
Associated Press |

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The radio station apologised for a host's comments about BTS that came across as racist. Photo: Big Hit Entertainment

A German radio station apologised on Friday after a host compared K-pop band BTS to the coronavirus, saying his choice of words had gone too far but was in no way meant to be “hurtful or racist”.

The statement came after legions of fans accused the station’s Matthias Matuschik of racism for his comments on the band’s cover of a Coldplay song, taking to social media using the hashtags #Bayern3Racist, #Bayern3Apologize and #RassismusBeiBayern3 which translates as “racism at Bayern3”.

“Racism is not an opinion,” wrote one user, @Vroseeeee1 in a blunt tweet in English, German, Korean and Spanish.

The uproar came after a live show Wednesday, in which Matuschik derided BTS’s version of Fix You as “blasphemy” and compared the band to Covid-19, describing them as “some crappy virus that hopefully there will be a vaccine for soon as well”.

He then dug his hole deeper as he tried to roll back the comment somewhat, saying “I have nothing against South Korea, you can’t accuse me of xenophobia only because this boyband is from South Korea ... I have a car from South Korea. I have the coolest car around.”

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Then he went on to say that in penance for the cover, BTS “will be vacationing in North Korea for the next 20 years”.

In the station’s apology, it said that while Matuschik was “presenting his opinion in an ironic, exaggerated way and with exaggerated excitement, his words went too far and hurt the feelings of BTS fans.

“But he – and he has assured us of this – in no way intended this. He just wanted to express his displeasure over the aforementioned cover version.”

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It noted that Matuschik has been involved in helping raise aid for refugees and has a “constant campaign against right-wing extremism” and has shown he is against xenophobia or racism in any form.

“That does not change the fact that many of you found his statements to be hurtful or racist,” Bayern3 said. “We apologise for this in every way possible. We will work on the matter with Matthias and the team in detail again in the next few days.”

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