BTS Condemns Anti-Asian Hate Crimes: “We Feel Grief and Anger”

BTS at the 2020 Grammy Awards
Photo by Emma McIntyre via Getty Images

Monday’s brutal attack on an Asian woman in Midtown Manhattan was just the latest instance of a nearly 150 percent surge in anti-Asian hate crimes in the U.S. over the past year. (It came just two weeks after a white 21-year-old shot and killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women, in Atlanta, Georgia.) The South Korean supergroup BTS has taken notice, and now joined the many who’ve expressed their support for the Asian American community via the hashtags #StopAsianHate and #StopAAPIHate. They began their statement with a common sentiment: “We feel grief and anger.”

“We recall moments when we faced discrimination as Asians,” the group’s seven members continued. “We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English.” Their own experiences may be “inconsequential compared to the events that have occurred over the past few weeks,” but were still “enough to make us feel powerless and chip away our self-esteem.”

The BTS Army has thoroughly documented instances; last month, for example, a German radio host described the group as “some crappy virus that hopefully there will be a vaccine for soon as well.”

BTS has notably been vocal about its support for the Black Lives Matter movement, including via a $1 million donation, which the Army quickly matched. (Members such as Soju have also acknowledged that the K-Pop industry is indebted to Black culture.) Their latest statement continued along similar lines, with BTS careful not to make it about themselves. “What is happening right now cannot be dissociated from our identity as Asians,” the septet concluded. “What our voice must convey is clear. We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.”