German radio host Matthias Matuschik: ‘I am really sorry’ for attacking BTS

Radio host Matthias Matuschik (left) and BTS (Matuschik’s website and Twitter)

Embattled German radio host Matthias Matuschik has apologized for attacking K-pop superstars BTS on his show, likening them to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that should be eradicated with a vaccine and saying they should be sent to North Korea for their cover of Coldplay’s “Fix You” on “MTV Unplugged.”

“I am really sorry,” he said in a statement posted on the website of radio station Bayern 3 after he was besieged by accusations of racism from BTS ARMYs.

During his radio program on Bayern 3, a public radio station located in the state of Bavaria, Matuschik attacked BTS after he became annoyed by the boy band’s cover of “Fix You.” 

He branded BTS as “some s*** virus for which hopefully a vaccine will be available soon. Nothing against South Korea. You cannot say I'm xenophobic only because of a boy band from South Korea. Korea rules...well SK. But BTS. BTS actually did an ‘MTV Unplugged.’ For a boy band 'unplugged' is already a paradox in itself.” 

“And then these little f******* are bragging that they covered 'Fix You' from Coldplay. I say blasphemy and I'm an atheist but this is outrageous. For this, you (BTS) are gonna go on vacation to North Korea for the next 20 years,” he added, according to a translation by Twitter account BTS Updates Germany. 

His comments outraged BTS ARMYs who branded him as racist. The hashtags #Bayern3Racist, #RassismusBeiBayern3 and #Bayern3Apologize trended on Twitter and the topics “RACISM IS NOT AN OPINION” and “APOLOGIZE TO BTS.”

The fans sent letters to Bayern 3 to condemn Matuschik and said they “expect for there to be appropriate consequences for the racist behavior of your radio host.”

In his statement, Matuschik said, “I am very dismayed by the reactions that my statements on my live show had - and first of all: I am very sorry and I would like to sincerely apologize.”

“In my moderation, I was primarily annoyed by the fact that the boy band BTS covered the song ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay, which I really appreciate. The nationality of the seven boys shouldn't matter - mentioning them and making the connection with a virus was completely wrong,” he said. 

He added, “I have thought a lot in the past few hours and I understand and accept that I could have racially insulted many of you, especially the Asian community, with my words. That was never my intention, but I know that in the end it is how the words are received by the recipients - and not how they were meant.”

“People who have known me for a long time know that in addition to my work as a radio DJ and cabaret artist, since the influx of refugees in 2015, I have also been very active against right-wing activities and for those seeking protection. It makes me all the more sad when I hurt others with a thoughtless, actually funny statement and put myself in the wrong light. I made a big mistake that I'm going to learn from,” said Matuschik.

Bayern 3 also issued a new statement to say that “we apologize unreservedly for the remarks made by presenter Matthias Matuschik in his live broadcast.”

“His choice of words to comment on BTS were unacceptable. Both he himself and we at Bayern 3 know that it is not enough to simply intend a different meaning. If statements are perceived by many people as offensive or racist, then they were,” the radio station said. 

It added, “However, we feel the need to stress that Matthias' social engagement to promote a peaceful togetherness among people (in Bavaria) is testament to his conviction that everyone must be treated equally - regardless of their nationality, culture, skin color, sexual orientation or religion. Bayern 3 also expressly and resolutely distances itself from any form of racism, exclusion and discrimination.” 

“In the meantime, the presenter and his family receive serious threats. We ask, despite every sympathy for the indignation, that the discussion must remain on a substantive level. We will work through the issue in more detail with Matthias and the entire team and ensure that such serious mistakes will not happen again in the future,” according to Bayern 3.