K-pop supergroup BTS visits White House to discuss anti-Asian American violence and hate crimes
The group met privately with President Joe Biden in the Oval Office to address rising levels of hate crimes in recent years
K-pop supergroup BTS visited the White House on Tuesday to promote Asian inclusion and representation, and met with President Joe Biden to address anti-Asian hate crimes and violence in the United States.
What BTS said: BTS appeared a White House press briefing, where they were introduced by press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre as “international icons” who “also play an important role as youth ambassadors promoting a message of respect and positivity,” according to CNN.
- “It is a great honor to be invited to the White House today to discuss the important issues of anti-Asian hate crimes, Asian inclusion and diversity,” said RM, the group’s de facto leader and the only member fluent in English, according to The Washington Post.
- “It’s not wrong to be different,” said BTS member Suga through an interpreter, according to the BBC. “Maybe equality begins when we open up and embrace all of our differences.”
- “We were devastated by the recent surge of hate crimes, including Asian American hate crimes,” the translator related, according to CNN. “To put a stop on this and support the cause, we’d like to take this opportunity to voice ourselves once again. We are here today thanks to our army — our fans worldwide — who have different nationalities and cultures and use different languages.
What happened next: BTS met with Biden privately in the Oval Office after the briefing, commemorating the last day of May, which is designated as Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
- More than 300,000 tuned in to watch the livestream of the briefing, compared to the few hundred that usually take interest, reports The Washington Post. Hundreds of fans gathered outside the White House in hopes of meeting the band.
- “I would say thank you for helping me love myself a little more,” said Damaris Monroy Hernandez, who spent her 16th birthday hoping to meet the group, according to The Guardian. “I’m just happy they came here because I love the fact that they’re spreading awareness about the Asian hate that’s happening in the world. They’re amazing people.”
Tucker Carlson incurs ARMYs wrath: On Tuesday night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson dismissed the visit, suggesting the White House inviting youth icons like BTS is helping “degrade” the country. “And it’s working,” he added, according to Rolling Stone.
- “Yeah, so we got a Korean pop group to discuss anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States,” Carlson said. “OK. Good job, guys.”
- According to Billboard, Carlson’s Twitter timeline was quickly flooded with tweets from the BTS fan ARMY. Billboard wrote: “The right-wing pundit went to war with an ARMY he vastly underestimated.”