The Project is getting slammed by K-Pop fans for a rather insensitive video segment it ran on Sunday suggesting members of BTS had COVID at the Grammy Awards.
ICYMI, band member Jungkook tested positive for COVID in late March. But he was cleared to perform at the Grammys after he tested negative.
The Project on Sunday aired a clip of BTS at the Grammys. It showed Trevor Noah asking the band how they were. They all replied “great”.
But The Project then played cough noises over a clip of band member V with his hand over his mouth. The Project team included little COVID particles too.
Chrissie Swan said in a voiceover accompanying the clip: “K-Pop sensation BTS dropped in, dismissing their very recent battles with COVID-19”.
It gave strong year nine Powerpoint energy in the worst way possible. But the optics of “joking” that an Asian person had COVID and voluntarily appeared at an award show with it was also a huge fkn microaggression.
BTS stans caught on to the video on Monday. Several have criticised it as racist. They’ve specifically linked it to the widespread rise in anti-Asian hate crimes over the pandemic.
There were 540 incidents of anti-Asian racism related to COVID reported to the Asian Australian Alliance (AAA) between April 2020 and June 2021. The AAA also found that 90 percent of incidents of anti-Asian racism went unreported.
That context, particularly the #StopAsianHate movement, is one of the big drivers behind fans’ criticisms of The Project. The show deleted a clip of the segment from its Twitter account. But fans are calling for a formal apology.
How does a clip like the one depicting BTS as covid-spreaders get approved? @theprojecttv
The only Asian nominees and The Project decides to make a covid joke, real stylish, there. Nothing like some casual racism
You gonna get ARMYs all over the world calling you out for this
— salka⁷ (@twt_Salka) April 4, 2022
“The Project” must apologize to not only V and BTS, but also for spreading the myth that Asians are Covid carriers. Racism isn’t funny. Covid isn’t funny. Your “joke” is pathetic. #RespectBTS #StopAsianHate
— Ruth and Gandalf 🐈 (@20thC_annie) April 5, 2022
“A popular Australian show has resorted to cheap, derogatory editing & racism in the name of comedy. Racism is never funny in any situation,” wrote one Aussie-based BTS fan account.
“We condemn these microaggressions being demonstrated towards Asian artists & demand a takedown of the post & a formal apology.”
A popular Australian show has resorted to cheap, derogatory editing & racism in the name of comedy. Racism is never funny in any situation. We condemn these microaggressions being demonstrated towards Asian artists & demand a takedown of the post & a formal apology #StopAsianHate https://t.co/FLG3DqzR43
— BTS V Australia (slow)¹¹⁸ ◡̈ (@Australia4Tae) April 4, 2022
Fans have also made an email template to send to BTS’s management BigHit Music. In the email template, The Project’s package is described as a “vile, derogatory edit that associates BTS with the spread of COVID-19”.
At the moment neither Network 10 or The Project have apologised for the segment. PEDESTRIAN.TV reached out to Network 10 for comment but it did not reply at the time of publishing.
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Getty Images / Jeff Kravitz / Network 10