BTS, the seven-member South Korean pop group with one of many world’s most ravenous fanbases, visited the White House on Tuesday to handle the rise in hate crimes and different acts of discrimination towards Asian Americans.
The band, also called the Bangtan Boys, participated in a press briefing with White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre earlier than meeting with President Joe Biden.
“We were devastated by the recent surge of hate crimes, including Asian American hate crimes,” BTS vocalist Jimin stated from the rostrum, as conveyed by an interpreter. “To put a tough stop on this and support the cause, we’d like to take this opportunity to voice ourselves once again to say we are here today thanks to our army ― our fans worldwide ― who have different nationalities and cultures and use different languages. We are truly and always grateful.”
Hate crimes concentrating on Asian Americans skyrocketed in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, which former President Donald Trump repeatedly known as “the China virus,” “kung flu” and different racist names due to its origins in Asia. A report printed by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism earlier this year discovered that anti-Asian hate crimes jumped by 339 % in 2021 in comparison with the year earlier than.
“We hope today is one step forward to respecting and understanding each and every one as a valuable person,” BTS vocalist V stated via the interpreter.
Hundreds of Okay-pop followers assembled outdoors the White House gates in the course of the press briefing, chanting the band’s identify. More than a quarter-million people reportedly tuned into to the White House stream of the occasion on YouTube.
White House National Economic Council director Brian Deese adopted BTS at Tuesday’s press convention, jokingly boasting: “OK. So I get to go home and tell my kids that BTS opened for me. I did not expect that when I woke up this morning.”
Though BTS’ administration maintains tight management of the group’s public picture, statements and politics, the band broke from conference in 2020 and spoke out in assist of the Black Lives Matter motion and donated $1 million to the trigger.
“We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together,” BTS tweeted following the homicide of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis.
BTS’s followers are additionally aggressive about combatting racist actions within the U.S., recurrently strategizing to overhaul hashtags selling white supremacy and QAnon conspiracy theories.
“They got beaten at their own game by Korean pop fans,” Mike Rothschild, a conspiracy idea researcher, advised Bloomberg in regards to the phenomenon in 2020. “I’d never seen anything like it before.”