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BTS Army leads backlash over Chilean TV show’s racist parody of the band

The Mi Barrio skit, which parodied the members of BTS and mocks the Korean language, comes just weeks after the band spoke out about anti-Asian hate

The BTS Army has mobilised after a comedy television show in Chile aired a parody sketch mocking the band and the Korean language. The segment featured on Mi Barrio satirised the K-pop group and associated them with North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, with cast members portraying the members introducing themselves as “Kim Jong-Uno,” “Kim Jong-Dos,” “Kim Jong-Tres,” “Kim Jong-Cuatro” and “Juan Carlos.” When asked to say something in Korean, one actor spoke in accented gibberish.

The skit sparked outrage and international backlash, with fans quickly coming to the band’s defense, calling out the jokes as racist, xenophobic, and linking them to wider issues of anti-Asian racism and violence that has flared in the last year. The hashtag #RacismIsNotComedy quickly started trending on Twitter on Sunday evening.  

“Last night, Chilean comedy TV Show Mi Barrio presented a parody performance of BTS, where all the jokes were based on racism and xenophobia, including mockery of their language, their names and a joke related to the pandemic,” wrote Chilean fan account @BTS_Chile in a tweet which now has almost 30K likes. “This situation is extremely insensitive considering the discriminatory attacks the Asian community has suffered globally.” The account also put together instructions on how to file a formal complaint against Mi Barrio and called on the country’s National Television Council to “ensure that racist attitudes and stereotypes are eliminated from Chilean television.”

“There is NOTHING funny about racism, especially in a time where Asian hate crimes have been rampant around the world. This is disgusting,” wrote another Twitter user. 

In response to the criticism, Mi Barrio issued an unapologetic statement thanking everyone for the “good vibes”. “We’ll continue improving, learning, listening, and we’ll remain firm in our intention: to bring fun to families,” it continued. 

BTS has not, as of now, commented on the incident, however, in March the group released a statement in response to the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and rhetoric in the US. “We recall moments when we faced discrimination as Asians. We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English,” the statement reads. “We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence.”