BTS fans, collectively known as ARMY, have rallied behind group member RM after Chinese social media users allegedly flooded BTS’ Instagram account with negative messages.
RM, whose real name is Kim Nam-joon, cheered for South Korean short-track speed skater Hwang Dae-heon in an Instagram Story on Monday using two clapping emojis and a thumbs-up emoji, according to South China Morning Post. Hwang, a world-record holder, reportedly finished first in the semifinal race on Saturday but was later disqualified due to an “illegal late pass causing contact” with Chinese skater Li Wenlong, The Korea Times reported. Lee June-seo, another South Korean skater, was also disqualified.
Li went on to place second, while Chinese teammate Ren Ziwei took home gold after judges also disqualified Hungarian speed skater Liu Shaolin.
Angered by RM’s Instagram Story, several Chinese social media users immediately took to Weibo to express outrage against the BTS member using the hashtag “#BTSinsultingChina (#防弹少年团辱华).”
Others also flocked to the South Korean boy band’s Instagram account to leave hateful messages, post vulgar emojis and write remarks criticizing RM’s physical appearance. Some of the remarks even told the group to “stay away from the Chinese market.”
The hateful messages prompted ARMY to retaliate with positive comments and also flood the group’s Instagram account with purple heart emojis.
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Many South Koreans expressed anger over Hwang’s disqualification, the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC) said in a statement on Tuesday, as NextShark previously reported.
“The people back home are extremely upset with such biased officiating,” the South Korean committee said. “We decided that refereeing (in short track here) couldn’t have support from the international sporting community, and we also wanted to shed light on the less-than-transparent relationship between international federations and judges.”
KSOC also said it will file an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over the “unfairness” of judging in the Winter Olympics’ recent short track races.