Colombian radio program comes under fire for mocking BTS, South Korea

Published July 17, 2021, 6:11 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

‘La Mega’ hosts Edward El Shirry wearing a t-shirt with a Japanese rising sun flag design (left) and Carolina Carreño while the Korean national anthem was being played during the radio program (Screenshot from BTS Dream Lab Colombia / La Mega video)

A radio program in Colombia is receiving severe criticisms for insulting K-pop superstars BTS and South Korea.

It started on July 9 when the hosts of the program “La Mega” introduced BTS’ “Permission to Dance” as a requested song.

However, the hosts, who called BTS “Chinese,” made deriding remarks against BTS, and questioned their achievements and popularity.

“Those Chinese go very fast. They put a lot of money in it, so they made them to reach the top of the lists at the Grammys. It’s all because of money, also for important events. They are sponsored. Yeah. But they could not win anything. Those who are askng for the song is the South Korean embassy. And not because they are BTS, they have to be good, because that is not a reality,” said the hosts, according to a translation by YouTube channel Liry Onni.

The remarks caused an uproar among BTS ARMYs in Colombia.

According to an official statement by ARMY fanbase BTS Dream Lab Colombia, “As a response to their previous actions, yesterday (July 12, 2021) the staff from La Mega Bogota posted a video in which they said they’ll make an official statement regarding the situation that happened regarding BTS.”

But instead of making an apology, Edward El Shirry and Carolina Carreño, the hosts of “La Mega” program’s “El mañanero” segment made fun not only of BTS and BTS ARMYs but also South Korea.

Shirry wore a t-shirt with the Japanese rising sun symbol, which to South Koreans is a symbol of Japan’s atrocity.

According to Liry Onni, “The day they were supposed to apologize, they first played the song ‘Permission to Dance,’ they started by saying ‘it’s a great song’ sarcastically. They kept insisting that it was a personal opinion making the fandom look capricious and that they are doing all this because they did not like that they have spoken badly about their favorite group.”

Host Shirry said, “We are not really obliged but yes, we believe that in some form of the language we used, maybe our language was not accepted, maybe it was a bit strong for you. In that way I think it is valid to apologize. It’s official. These are the official apologies. We wanted to do it in the official language of K-pop, which was born in South Korea. So here you have our official statement in Korean.”

In a recorded message in Korean (which sounded like an audio from Google translation), the program said, “The morning team wants to say the following to BTS fans” and then played South Korea’s national anthem.

While the Korean national anthem was being played, Carreño took photos of Shirry, who posed in different facial expressions. Then the opening song in Korean of the anime “Dragon Ball Z” was played.

Another recorded message was played that stated, “Mushrooms of mazamorra, empanada, tamales that come out tamales. As they say, warm empanadas arrived at home, serve it by reheating very hot. Remember that tamales save lives. Mega with love, mega con amor [mega with love].”

Colombian BTS ARMYs pointed out that “as you can see, there was never a direct apology from La Mega’s staff, and instead they kept on ignoring the issue. They (brought) on an off-topic audio, which was full of remarks that, to us, seem xenophobic by mixing Korean and Japanese culture in an alleged apology to the South Korean artists and kept on the (cynicism). They also used a national symbol as it is the South Korea’s national anthem, and mixed it with the opening song from the Japanese anime series Dragon Ball Z, which has no correlation between them.”

“This actions not only shows the lack of professionalism and ethics of the radio hosts, but also from the radio CEOs, who’ve let their hosts keep on making this type of actions, showing lack of interest in solving the issue at hand and pose a mocking attitude towards not only ARMY and their listeners, but also to BTS and their nationality, disrespecting national symbols and showing again their lack of professionalism and work ethics,” according to the fan base’s official statement.

They added, “After reviewing several aspects of the situation with our staff, this afternoon we decided to present the case, with all the pertinent evidence, to the entity with the highest reach from South Korea in Colombia, and who are directly impacted by the issue, and we are currently waiting for a response.”