Chilean television network apologises for controversial BTS parody sketch

"It was never our intention to offend, insult or harm any community"

Chilean television network Mega has issued an apology after facing backlash to a controversial parody sketch about K-pop boyband BTS.

The sketch was part of a comedy programme titled Mi Barrio, where actors parodied the popular South Korean group. The skit, which mocked Korean accents and joked about the COVID-19 pandemic, received widespread backlash on social media, with users calling it out for being “racist” and “xenophobic”.

On April 13, the network issued an apology on Twitter, saying that it “want[s] to manifest our absolute empathy with those that might have felt affected by the section and we ask for your forgiveness,” as translated by The Korea Times.

“It was never our intention to offend, insult or harm any community. We will keep on moving, learning and listening, firm with our intention: to bring entertainment to families,” it added.

Neither BTS nor their agency has responded to the comedy sketch or Mega’s recent statement.

After the skit aired on April 10, fans of the group – otherwise known as ARMYs – took to social media to express their frustration toward the racist sentiments of the programme. They began using the hashtag #ElRacismoNoEsComedia, which stands for “Racism is not comedy”, on Twitter to bring light to the situation and filed formal complaints to the Chilean National Television Council.

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.