Bayern 3, a radio station in Bavaria, Germany, has issued a statement after host Matthias Matuschik compared BTS to the coronavirus on-air.
After playing BTS’ cover of Coldplay‘s “Fix You” on Wednesday (Feb. 24), Matuschik said their version of the song was “blasphemy” and likened the K-pop superstars to “some crappy virus that hopefully there will be a vaccine for soon as well,” the Associated Press reports.
“I have nothing against South Korea. You can’t accuse me of xenophobia only because this boy band is from South Korea … I have a car from South Korea. I have the coolest car around,” he said.
Matuschik then suggested BTS “will be vacationing in North Korea for the next 20 years” for their “Fix You” cover.
In a response obtained by the AP, the radio station said 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.”
“That does not change the fact that many of you found his statements to be hurtful or racist,” said Bayern 3. “We apologize 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.”
Besides outraging the BTS ARMY, Matuschik’s comments were denounced by several music industry peers on social media.
“I am horrified to read the comments made by Matthias Matuschik,” Halsey wrote in a note on her Instagram Stories Friday night (Feb. 26). “Racism and xenophobia cannot be thinly veiled as ‘on air humor.’ Irresponsible and disgusting statements in a time where hate speech and violent behavior towards Asian communities are skyrocketing. This is unacceptable. I hope a better apology to BTS, and the Asian communities across the world, is on its way.”
“Absolutely unacceptable the way radio host Matthias Matuschik speaks hate and racism in general let alone to my brothers,” Steve Aoki tweeted Saturday (Feb. 27). “I stand with @bts_BigHit to condemn hate of any kind and stop this kind of prejudice wherever we can. We must stand together. Spread love not hate.”
“Ewwww I just heard that clip of the radio presenter,” Zara Larsson said on Twitter. “First of all, you f—ed up the second you mentioned BTS. Army’s don’t play like that. And I hope you will never sleep peacefully again, knowing you ruined your career over being racist. I stand with my friends.”
She added, “And this is a bigger issue than one racist radio host speaking about BTS. This is about racism against Asians and xenophobia. we must all speak up, which is the bare minimum, to show people like him that his words have consequences.
“standing by my @bts_bighit brothers and everyone continuously effected by racist remarks as hurtful as what we heard on Bayern 3. no one should have to endure this and together we must stand up and stop it,” Lauv wrote on Twitter.