Entertainment Stage Thousands of K-Pop fans wrangle apology from Nine over ‘racist’ segment
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Thousands of K-Pop fans wrangle apology from Nine over ‘racist’ segment

BTS
BTS band members pictured at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. Photo: Getty
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Channel Nine has been forced to apologise after thousands of K-Pop fans accused the network of racism for a segment making fun of South Korean boy band BTS on its countdown TV program 20 to One.

During Wednesday night’s episode, which counted down the top 20 global crazes, co-host Erin Molan introduced BTS as “the biggest band you’ve never heard of”, despite it being the most popular boyband in the world.

The seven-member band, also known as the Bangtan Boys, boasts more than 19 million subscribers on YouTube and has an enormous fanbase.

A number of Australian performers poked fun at BTS throughout the segment, with comedian Jimmy Carr joking that the band’s popularity was akin to a nuclear explosion.

“When I first heard something Korean had exploded in America I got worried, so I guess it could’ve been worse … but not much worse,” Carr said.

Singer Rob Mills praised BTS’s choreography, but ranked the group’s singing skills as “passable”.

Co-host Nick Cody said he loved the band members’ “totally gangster names”, including members Jimin, Jin and Jungkook, who don’t use stage names.

The co-hosts joked that instead of discussing bullying, the group spoke about hair products in their recent presentation to the United Nations.

The segment prompted thousands of BTS fans, who call themselves the BTS Army, to come after Channel Nine in droves on social media.

The hashtag #Channel9Apologise quickly went viral.

Channel Nine has since offered a response, defending the segment by saying it was “intended to humorously highlight the popularity of the group”.

But many fans remain unsatisfied.

Australian comedian Alex Williamson, who did not appear on the show, defended the segment on Twitter.

Hoards of fans responded by calling for him to be fired.

While some 20 to One fans have been shocked by the fierce backlash, it comes as no surprise to people familiar with the overwhelming popularity of BTS.

The band has more than five billion YouTube views and No.1 hits in 71 countries, and its members have been the most tweeted about celebrities for the past two years running.

The group’s video clip for its song Idol has clocked more than 485 million views – five times more than mega K-Pop hit Gangnam Style, which was the most-watched YouTube video for five years after it was released in 2012.