BTS is making all the right headlines these days, but a surprising one has surfaced after The Howard Stern Show was critiqued over one staffer's comments about BTS and the Coronavirus. Fans were quick to call out the hit radio series after staffer Salvatore 'Sal' Governale went too far when talking about BTS. Even Stern has since condemned the comments as racist which has left fans both grateful and surprise.
The whole issue began on February 24 when The Howard Stern Show put out a new episode on SiriusXM. It was there the host discussed the looming threat of the Coronavirus, and it was there Governale accused BTS of carrying the disease after spotting them at the SiriusXM headquarters in New York City.
"BTS is from Korea and Sal was freaking out," Stern told listerners. "BTS was here at Sirius on Friday and Sal was saying, 'There's no way those guys don't have the coronavirus.' He was like every a-hole."
Rather than pull away from his comments, Governale stuck to his guns. The longtime staffer said, "I walked into the lobby and it was like Chinatown, out of control, there were so many Asian people," he said on the air. "These people are traveling, they're not locals, they're going from country to country to country. It's a dangerous situation. You got to look at it that way — they're on airplanes; they're in hotels."
As you can imagine, the comments did not go over well with fans. BTS doesn't hail from China where the virus originated, and their travels from South Korea have kept them out of their home country during its growing outbreak. As producer Gary Dell'Abate noted, any celebrity who comes into the SiriusXM headquarters has been traveling extensively, and the only difference with BTS is that they are all Asian.
Governale's comments brought on some serious backlash, and the staffer said he's gotten plenty of emails correcting him. Even Stern himself commented on the issue, saying, "I'm super paranoid about diseases and germs, but you came off as racist."
As the Coronavirus continues to spread across Asia and into European countries such as Italy, the public is being asked to extra vigilant about spreading the disease. Some have taken that too far as of late by harassing Asian people about their nationality, health status, and beyond. Governale's comments are one such example, but fans of BTS were quick to shut down his accusations. Just because BTS is comprised of Asian idols doesn't mean they're spreading the Coronavirus, and it would do everyone well to remember that.
How do you feel about this controversy? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!