A Chilean comedy programme called Mi Barrio is currently facing backlash over a parody sketch about K-pop boyband BTS.
On Saturday (April 10), the show aired a skit that parodied the members of BTS and mocked the Korean language. The skit also included jokes about COVID-19 and North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un.
In the sketch, the cast that parodied BTS introduced themselves with names such as “Kim Jong-Uno” (a combination of Kim Jong-un and “uno”, meaning one), “Kim Jong-dos” and “Kim Jong-tres”, sparking outrage from fans.
Some fans of the group, also know as ARMYs, have described the jokes that were made during the sketch as “racist” and “xenopohbic”, noting the recent uptick in hate crimes towards Asian communities in Western countries. A Chilean fan account for the boyband, known as “BTS Chile”, has also shared a thread of the incident on Twitter, including translations of the sketch and updates on the story.
“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. This situation is extremely insensitive considering the discriminatory attacks the Asian community has suffered globally,” the account @BTS_Chile tweeted.
[THREAD] Last night, Chilean comedy TV show #MiBarrio (open TV channel available to the whole country) presented a parody performance of BTS, where all the jokes were based on racism and xenophobia, including mockery of their language, (cont.)
video cr; isidoradae pic.twitter.com/tBK8CYbbKs
— BTS Chile (@BTS_Chile) April 11, 2021
The account also put together instructions on how to file a complaint about the incident. Fans around the world began using the hashtag #ElRacismoNoEsComedia, which stands for “Racism is not comedy”, on Twitter to bring light to the situation.
So far, the show has responded by posting the following on Instagram, as translated by @BTS_Chile on Twitter: “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 humor and fun.”
This incident comes just weeks after BTS released their own statement speaking out against anti-Asian racism, where they recalled their own experiences in which they felt “powerless” at times. “We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English.”
Just last month, trading card company Topps pulled its Garbage Pail Kids sticker card depicting BTS with bruised faces following accusations of racism. This controversy came after the Atlanta, Georgia shooting on March 16, which claimed the lives of six Asian people.