German Radio Station Bayern3 Apologized After Their Host Likened BTS To The Coronavirus In An On-Air Rant

In a vitriolic rant, host Matthias Matuschik likened the Korean group to "a virus that we'll hopefully have a vaccine for soon."

German radio station Bayern3 issued a statement of apology on Friday after one of their hosts, Matthias Matuschik, likened Korean group BTS to the coronavirus on air.

Matuschik apparently took issue with the group's MTV Unplugged cover of Coldplay's "Fix You," calling it "a catastrophe" and "blasphemy" in a vitriolic rant during his radio show on Thursday.

The moment was immediately picked up by fans of BTS, known as ARMY, and within just a few hours, the hashtags #Bayern3Racist and #RassismusBeiBayern3 were trending worldwide alongside calls for the station to hold Matuschik accountable for his words.

A German radio host said, that BTS is just like an abbreviation for Covid-19 and that he hopes there will be a vaccine against BTS soon. He openly cursed at them for covering a coldplay song and said BTS deserves a 20 year vacation in North Korea for that. https://t.co/KKz9tk6b7u

Twitter: @mysevenwhaliens

Imagine making it to the world trends ... for being racist in the year of 2021. Humiliating.

Twitter: @BangtanGER_twt

In response to the backlash, Bayern3 released a statement "formally apologizing," but explaining that Matuschik had simply "overshot" while expressing an "exaggerated" opinion of BTS and their Coldplay cover.

"[Matuschik] is free to like whatever music suits him, but in expressing his opinion his rhetoric crossed the line into xenophobia and racism," one fan wrote on Twitter.

.@bayern3 this is not about expression of personal opinions or taste. @MMatuschik is free to like whatever music suits him, but in expressing his opinion his rhetoric crossed the line into xenophobia and racism on a publicly-funded station. #RassismusBeiBayern3 #Bayern3Racist

Twitter: @soopdweller

Another example of organizations hiding their racism behind “we are sorry we hurt fans feelings.” I don’t care about MY feelings. I care about you perpetuating anti-Asian racism. #Bayern3Racist #RassismussBeiBayern3 @bayern3

Twitter: @soul_mapped

"There's a huge difference between free speech and hate speech," another person said.

There's a huge difference between free speech and hate speech. The freedom of voicing your personal opinion doesn't give you free pass to an unprovoked racist rants against Asian. Hold your host accountable @bayern3 #RassismusBeiBayern3 #Bayern3Racist

Twitter: @almostdita

Many pointed out the racism in comparing a group of Asian people to the coronavirus, particularly in the midst of an alarming increase in violent hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) people.

Matthias Matuschik wasn't edgy when he said he hates BTS & likened them to Covid. He knows there's an epidemic of hatred towards Asians, fueled by public figures like him. I sincerely hope his slander doesn't incite physical attacks. @bayern3 #Bayern3Racist #RassismusbeiBayern3 https://t.co/5KX4DsVXVs

Twitter: @GoAwayWithJae

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.

Twitter: @minjinlee11

"I deal with this kind of comments every day in Germany," wrote Hansl Chang, a South Korean native living in Berlin. "This is not just about BTS, it is about so many Asian people who are dealing with extreme racism."

Everything is just wrong🤮 Really pissing me off cos I deal with this kind of comments every day in Germany. This is not just about #BTS it is about so many Asian people who are dealing with extreme racism especially due to pandemic. #Bayern3Racist #Bayern3Apologize https://t.co/FWmmnUxs0v

Twitter: @ChangHansl

Racist attacks against Asian people have been on the rise in the United States in the last year, with the Stop AAPI Hate coalition reportedly receiving 2,808 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate throughout the country between March 18 and Dec. 31, 2020.

Many attribute the increased attacks to racist rhetoric used by former president Donald Trump, who often referred to the coronavirus as "the China virus."

Over the weekend, several of BTS's collaborators and music industry peers — including Steve Aoki, Zara Larsson, and Lauv — weighed in on the situation, calling it "unacceptable."

Absolutely unacceptable the way radio host Matthias Matuschik speaks hate and racism in general let alone to my brothers. 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.

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

Twitter: @lauvsongs

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.

Twitter: @zaralarsson

And in a post on her Instagram story, their friend and collaborator Halsey said she was "horrified" by Matuschik's remarks, calling them "irresponsible and disgusting."

In additional statements posted to the station's website following the backlash, both Bayern3 and Matuschik expressed "sincere apologies" for his "unacceptable" words.

This is far from the first time BTS has been the subject of racist rhetoric in the media. Just last year, Howard Stern called his SiriusXM coworker Sal Governale "racist" for his on-air remarks about the group.

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