A Chilean comedy programme, Mi Barrio, is facing backlash over a parody sketch about the K-pop band BTS.
On Saturday (10 April), the show aired a skit that mocked BTS and the Korean language. It also included jokes about coronavirus and the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un.
The sketch saw actors playing the South Korean members of BTS and introducing themselves with names such as “Kim Jong-Uno”, “Kim Jong-dos” and “Kim Jong-tres”. Asked to say something in Korean, one actor spoke in accented gibberish.
“There is NOTHING funny about racism, especially in a time where Asian hate crimes have been rampant around the world. This is disgusting,” wrote one Twitter user.
Many fans accused the show of racism and xenophobia and linked its sketch to wider issues of anti-Asian hate crimes that have increased since the pandemic began.
People around the world began using the hashtag #ElRacismoNoEsComedia, which means “racism is not comedy”, on Twitter.
The makers of the show responded on Instagram on Sunday, posting: “Thank you everyone for the good vibes! We’ll continue improving, learning, listening, and we’ll remain firm in our intention: to bring fun to families. We collect all positive comments and also the critics, because that’s what we’re for: contribute a little with humour and fun.”
BTS has not officially commented on the controversy, but in a statement released in March about increased attacks against Asians, the group said, “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.”
“We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected,” the message concluded. “We will stand together.”