K-Town

BTS Receive Apology From Chilean TV Network Over Racist Skit: 'We Ask For Your Forgiveness'

Mega TV's "Mi Barrio" sketch show featured a xenophobic skit mocking COVID-19 with actors parodying the South Korean group.

Chilean TV network Mega issued an apology to BTS on Tuesday (April 13) following intense backlash over a COVID-19 sketch on the show Mi Barrio that featured actors parodying the South Korean group. According to the Korea Times, the racist, xenophobic skit that aired on Sunday (April 11) had five comedians dressed as BTS members, who introduced themselves as "Kim Jong Uno," "Kim Jong Dos," etc., speaking in mocking Korean accents, getting vaccinated and making inappropriate jokes about Asians and the novel coronavirus.

In reaction to the controversy -- which unleashed a flood of angry tweets from the ARMY demanding an apology coupled with the hashtag #ElRacismoNoEsComedia (racism is not comedy) -- the network issued a mea culpa on Tuesday (April 13). "On the controversy unleashed this weekend as a result of a sketch broadcast on the program Mi Barrio, Megamedia wishes to declare the following: humor helps people deal with the difficult moments of the pandemic that we are going through," read a translation of the statement.

Noting the that network has "clearly established" rules about the type of humor that is appropriate on its airwaves, the statement added, "We want to express our absolute empathy with those who may have been affected by the sketch on El Late De Raquel, and we apologize accordingly. It was never our intention to offend, insult, or hurt any community."

The tweet promised to keep "improving, learning and listening" while also absorbing positive and negative comments to improve their programming. In a year when attacks on members of the AAPI community in the United States have increased dramatically due to scapegoating and the repeated use of racist phrases such as "China/Chinese Virus" and "Kung flu," the ill-considered Mega skit was seen by the ARMY as the latest unprovoked insult.

It came just two months after a German radio host mocked BTS's cover of Coldplay's "Fix You" and compared them to the coronavirus. At press time it did not appear that BTS had responded to the Mega apology, though the South Korean septet shared their experiences with racism last month while condemning the wave of anti-Asian violence and hate in the U.S.

Mindful not to make themselves the focus, the band's statement highlighted moments when they "faced discrimination as Asians," including enduring "expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look" and being "asked why Asians spoke in English." The statement stressed that the band's "own experiences are inconsequential" compared to recent events but that the racism was "enough to make us feel powerless and chip away our self-esteem."

See a clip of the Mega sketch and the apology tweet below (Trigger warning: the skit features offensive depictions of Asian men.)

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