Just a week after comparing “BTS fever” to COVID-19, Jimmy Kimmel is under fire again for a joke he made during his opening monologue on his talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Last week, Jimmy Kimmel interviewed actress Ashley Park. Ashley Park plays Mindy Chen on Netflix‘s Emily in Paris.
Ashley Park performed a cover of BTS’s “Dynamite” on the show, and she told Jimmy Kimmel that RM and V shared clips of her cover on Instagram.
As an ARMY, Ashley Park was very excited that RM and V had not only seen her cover of “Dynamite” but also shared it with their followers on their personal Instagram accounts. She revealed that she was getting a manicure when she found out that V posted the cover, and she said it was a “miracle” that she was able to finish her manicure because her hands were shaking so much from the excitement of being noticed by BTS.
Ashley Park said she had a very intense reaction to RM and V sharing her cover on Instagram. She said she felt as if she was going into shock, and she “couldn’t think, couldn’t talk, and couldn’t get up” for the rest of the day.
Unfortunately, the symptoms she was feeling weren’t just from fangirling too intensely. She found out she had contracted the Omicron variant of COVID-19, and the virus was the reason she was feeling so weird.
Ashley Park explained that she would’ve never guessed that she had COVID-19 because she thought all her symptoms were from going into shock after RM and V noticed her. Jimmy Kimmel said, “You thought it was BTS fever,” and she said yes.
Then, Jimmy Kimmel said, “They’re both very dangerous. You’re lucky to come out of those alive.”
People called out Jimmy Kimmel for comparing BTS fever to the coronavirus. Asian people have been targeted with hate and violence since the beginning of the pandemic, and many people felt that Jimmy Kimmel’s joke only added fuel to the racist, anti-Asian fire. Additionally, people were upset that he made the joke in front of Ashley Park, a Korean-American, just moments after she expressed how proud she is of BTS as a fellow Korean.
.@jimmykimmel comparing Asian artists to the pandemic fuels Anti Asian hate, but you don't care, don't you? You'd rather just dehumanize us.
— 🎆 ( slow ) (@sushimonojoonie) January 21, 2022
Now, just a week later, Jimmy Kimmel is under fire again for allegedly shading BTS while talking about the latest COVID-19 variant, Omicron BA.2, in his opening monologue on January 27.
We’re learning more about this new version of Omicron that’s making the rounds at an even faster rate than the original Omicron. The new variant is said to be so contagious that none of you (the in-studio audience) should be here, that’s how contagious it is. You probably shouldn’t even be watching this show at home right now. The good news is Omicron BA.2 as they call it doesn’t appear to be more severe when it comes to symptoms. You know, these variants, all the different variants, remind me of the boy bands in the late 90s and the early 2000s. You know, you had the big ones, like Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and then that mutated into O-Town and 98 Degrees. And we had the Jonas Brothers popped up, Big Time Rush. They kept splitting off in different directions, eventually One Direction. And they took pieces, and it popped up all over the world, until eventually we get to one that’s so contagious it destroys all life on earth.
— Jimmy Kimmel
While he didn’t mention BTS by name, many fans believe that Jimmy Kimmel was referencing them because he made a similar joke last week while interviewing Ashley Park and he referred to boy bands popping up “all over the world” (like in South Korea) in his monologue about Omicron BA.2.
People are especially upset that Jimmy Kimmel and his writers never apologized for the joke he made while interviewing Ashley Park but instead decided to incorporate the same type of joke into his opening monologue on January 27. Once again, people are calling him out on Twitter for being racist and xenophobic. Fans are also calling him out for trying to sneak a racist joke into his monologue by not using BTS’s name.
ur lying… pic.twitter.com/2j4Ao5IH9K
— ⁷ bam’s mom (@remkoobi) January 28, 2022
I don’t understand how the ‘joke’ was deemed appropriate by multiple people when Jimmy Kimmel was clearly drawing parallels between a group of Korean men to a virus that has killed millions of ppl all over the world.#JimmyKimmelRacist
— Eunji⁷ 💜 (@JJKBTS14) January 28, 2022
Safe to assume @jimmykimmel is feeling pretty smug now he managed to compare 875 to a "virus mutation so contagious it destroys all life on earth" without actually mentioning them, and by mentioning a selection of western boy bands he probably feels clever. You don'tget it. (+)
— Cypher⁷/ Shesawseesaw ⟭⟬ 💜 ⟬⟭ (@cypherluscious) January 28, 2022
People on TikTok also called him out for continuing to make jokes comparing Asian people to COVID-19. Hate crimes against Asian people have risen 76% since the start of the pandemic, and people are concerned that jokes like this will only promote more violence against Asian people.
2022 and people are still making racially charged covid jokes towards BTS #bts
As of right now, Jimmy Kimmel and his team have not apologized for the jokes he made while interviewing Ashley Park nor for the joke he made during his January 27 monologue.
You can watch the full monologue below.