Halsey defends BTS after German DJ compares band to Covid-19: ‘Xenophobia cannot be thinly veiled as “on-air humour”’

Isobel Lewis
·2-min read
BTS, pictured in 2020 (Getty Images for SiriusXM)
BTS, pictured in 2020 (Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Halsey and Lauv have spoken out in defence of BTS after a German radio host compared the K-pop group to coronavirus.

DJ Matthias Matuschik came under fire this week after insulting the band as he played their recent cover of Coldplay’s “Fix You” on his Bayern3 show.

Calling the group’s version of the song “blasphemy”, he then said that BTS were “some crappy virus that hopefully there will be a vaccine for soon as well” (translation via Associated Press).

While Matuschik immediately backtracked on his comments, saying that he couldn’t be xenophobic because he “had a car from South Korea”, he later apologised and said that he never intended to “racially insult” the band.

On Friday (26 February) night, Halsey wrote that she was “horrified” by Matuschik’s words as she defended the “Dynamite” hitmakers.

Halsey/Instagram
Halsey/Instagram

Racism and xenophobia cannot be thinly veiled as ‘on-air humour’,” she wrote on her Instagram Story. “Irresponsible and disgusting statements in a time where hate speech and violent behaviour 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.”

Singer Lauv also tweeted: “Standing by my @bts_bighit brothers and everyone continuously effected [sic] 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.”

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American musician Max Schneider, who performs as Max, wrote: “BTS is one of the hardest working and most humble groups in the industry. They deserve all the success they’ve earned.

“Hearing such hateful words used against them by the radio host at Bayern 3 made me sick. The hate to them and the Asian community as a whole is unacceptable.”

In Bayern3’s apology, the station 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,” they continued. “He just wanted to express his displeasure over the aforementioned cover version.”

In response, many BTS fans replied with the quote: “Racism is not an opinion.”