BTS-EXO Kpop Rivalry Turns Ugly Over Canadian Radio Station Poll

30 January 2018

Radio station Hits 93 Toronto recently opened up a Twitter poll asking their followers if they should dedicate an hour each day to playing K-Pop songs. The next day, they took the tweet down and issued the following (long) apology:

WTF happened?

As it turns out, the BTS-EXO rivalry happened. Members of both fandoms stormed the replies to the polls, more often than not because one group's listeners didn't want the radio station to play the other group's songs. And the reasons stem from the long-past issue of EXO fans calling the #BTSARMY "beggars" for wanting Western countries to play more BTS.

The years-long feud drew out a lot of bad blood between the fandoms, as BTS fans didn't take kindly to name-calling from #EXOL. Now that BTS is blowing up in the US – becoming the first K-Pop group to perform at the AMAs, even – members of the ARMY felt that any airplay that EXO gets on Western radio stations is a result of the group riding on the former's coattails.

Attacks led to more attacks in return, and the whole thing just got ugly, from the BTS side:

…And from the EXO side:

Now, we get fandom rivalries. They're fun, and they make us level up our stan games even more. We just want to see our faves doing well and earn even more fans. But in a war like this one, where things get toxic, there aren't any real winners – just one big loser: K-Pop itself.

The fighting forced a major radio station in Canada's biggest city to cancel plans for an entire one-hour block of nonstop K-Pop. That's a solid 60 minutes of great music being played where it doesn't get much exposure. And it was supposed to be played on a daily basis, even.

That would have done so much work to boost K-Pop's popularity in Canada – not just BTS's or EXO's, but all the other great groups out there. Instead, Hits 93 decided that they didn't want to feed that toxicity anymore and called the whole thing off.

To their credit, not all BTS and EXO fans went off the rails on this one. In fact, after Hits 93 posted their apology, a lot of them called out the more unreasonable members of their fandom:

And at least one person thought that the fan wars should end in favor of something truly epic:

Now, there's an idea worth fighting for.

– Marco Sumayao
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