K-pop supergroup BTS has had quite a year, emerging from quarantine to perform its hit song “Dynamite” at the 2020 MTV VMAs. Now, though, the seven-member band is facing scrutiny over recent remarks by its leader. Read on for all the details of the recent debate.
What caused the controversy?
While accepting a virtual award from the New York-based Korea Society last week, band leader RM (also known as Kim Nam-joon) said of the Korean War, “We will always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared together, and the sacrifices of countless men and women.”
What happened next?
Social media quickly went wild over RM’s failure to mention the 180,000 Chinese soldiers who died in the Korean War; many Chinese fans called for a boycott, and the Chinese state-backed Global Times said the comments “reflected a one-sided attitude.”
How has all this affected BTS?
Brands including Samsung and Fila had references to partnerships with BTS scrubbed from their Chinese social media shortly after RM’s comments; on Monday, the South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Group removed some BTS ads from its Chinese sites.
How do BTS fans around the world feel about all this?
BTS fans aren’t a monolith, obviously; the band is set apart by its largely international audience, which makes it difficult to predict how, exactly, RM’s comments will affect the majority of fans’ relationships with BTS. As of Tuesday, BTS was reported to be the first act with 200 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Social 50 chart, which implies the band has the staying power to make it through this controversy.