BTS Speak Out Against Anti-Asian Hate Crimes During Visit To White House
By Sarah Tate
May 31, 2022
BTS denounced the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes while championing diversity during a press briefing at the White House on the last day of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
The K-pop sensations were recently invited to the White House to meet with President Joe Biden and discuss anti-Asian hate crimes and "the importance of diversity and inclusion and BTS' platform as youth ambassadors who spread a message of hope and positivity around the world," the White House said at the time.
That discussion began Tuesday (May 31), with the group taking turns to speak to reporters in a press briefing, per CNN. While introducing the group, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the "international icons ... play an important role [by] promoting a message of respect and positivity."
RM addressed the room first, calling it "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." According to CNN, the rest of the group spoke through a translator to say they stand with the White House and celebrate the AAPI community while acknowledging the rise of hate crimes, including those against the Asian community.
"We were devastated by the recent surge of hate crimes, including Asian American hate crimes. To put a stop on this and support the cause, we'd like to take this opportunity to voice ourselves once again," they said through the translator. "We are here today thanks to our army — our fans worldwide — who have different nationalities and cultures and use different languages."
They continued, "We believe music is always an amazing and wonderful unifier of all things ... We think equality begins when we open up and embrace our differences."
This isn't the first time the group has spoken out against hatred directed toward the Asian community. Last year, they opened up about the racist comments they have received while on the road.
"We recall moments when we faced discriminations as Asians. We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English," they said, adding, "We cannot put into words the pain of becoming the subject of hatred and violence for such a reason."
BTS will also meet with President Biden in the Oval Office to further their discussions. That meeting will be closed to reporters.
Check out the video below to listen to BTS' full comments.