In a statement posted late Monday to social media, the seven members of the K-pop band said they felt “grief and anger” over “events that have occurred over the past few weeks,” alluding to the March 16 shootings in Atlanta that left eight people dead, including six Asian women.
“We recall moments when we faced discrimination as Asians,” they wrote in the statement, which was printed in both Korean and English. “We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English.”
The band members noted that such incidents were “inconsequential” compared to what many others have experienced, but emphasized that “what is happening right now cannot be dissociated from our identity as Asians.”
“You, I and we all have the right to be respected,” the statement concluded. “We will stand together.”
The Grammy-nominated band’s loyal fan base — colloquially known as the “BTS Army” — responded to its words with praise. As of Tuesday morning, the statement had received more than 1.7 million likes on Twitter.
“I am sorry for what you’ve faced,” one Twitter user wrote. “Thank you for speaking out about the racist violence against asians. this means more than you can know.”
“I am so grateful that you continue to use your platform to spread awareness and I’m thankful that you shared your own personal experience,” another person tweeted. “We stand with the victims of violent hate crimes and racial discrimination.”
The seven music artists join actor Sandra Oh, “Saturday Night Live” cast member Bowen Yang and other stars in speaking out against a growing trend of discrimination against Asians that’s been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A survey published last month by the advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate found that around 3,292 racist incidents against Asians occurred in 2020. So far, 503 cases have been reported this year, but the final 2021 tally could be on track to surpass last year’s figure.