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:
When I posted the Tweet, I did not intend to offend. In fact, I intended to help promote bigger acts and smaller acts from Korea and beyond, during that K-POP hour.— Hits 93 Toronto (@Hits93Toronto) January 29, 2018
I and the team at Hits 93 Toronto, understand (and appreciate), the comments sent to us. As such, we have decided to yield your warnings, and pull the plug on this week's 'Where Did It Chart' and the K-POP hour.— Hits 93 Toronto (@Hits93Toronto) January 29, 2018
I sincerely apologize for the turmoil my Tweet caused!— Hits 93 Toronto (@Hits93Toronto) January 29, 2018
- Viktor and the team at Hits 93 Toronto
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.
Army: works hard to get BTS on the radio and on the charts— Ezra ✨ (@cielseokjin) January 29, 2018
Other fandoms: makes fun of armys for it and then don't do anything and just ride on BTS' fame
I'm so sorry but if you're playing anything other than BTS you can keep the segment lmao
Attacks led to more attacks in return, and the whole thing just got ugly, from the BTS side:
I don't care. I didn't mention your group who is unrelevant in the Canada and the US here. If I want to do charity I donate to @bts_love_myself not to hypocrites.— Moka (@moka_spring) January 29, 2018
BTS and who? I can't find them on the charts uwu— Amanda (@hobyblo) January 29, 2018
…And from the EXO side:
They have questionable album sales and 500k over shipped albums in Gaon chart and their fans think they outsold everyone and are superior just because they have 5m+ extra bot followers in Twitter. Shameful. They can fool people outside KPOP community but we know what's up— No EXO No life (@exo_aeri_) January 30, 2018
Sorry you had to deal with those immatures fans acting as if their group has been the first K-POP act played on the radio. Anyways, thank you for playing Been Through by EXO tho#iHeartAwards #BestFanArmy #EXOL @weareoneEXO— Wherever we are, we are one ♡ (@fancyosh) January 29, 2018
I'm not pressed, your whole fandom is pressed. "letting you ride on our boys' success" lmao last time I checked your faves rode on exo's and bigbang's fame but say whatever makes you feel better sweetie. #EXOL#BestFanArmy#iHeartAwards@weareoneEXO— ㅇㅍㅇ 💕 ◜ㅅ◝ (@marvelousyeol) January 29, 2018
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:
I hope you guys are proud of yourselves. You made a great radio station apologize for wanting to open up kpop to their public. Ur faves don't have sole dominion over radio waves and it's sad that you think they do. And reading the comments y'all don't even feel bad. Just shameful— mother universe (@exoLsmom) January 29, 2018
And at least one person thought that the fan wars should end in favor of something truly epic:
EXO AND BTS MASHUP WOULD BE LIT #STOPTHEFANWARS— mari. (@_xiuminati) January 29, 2018
Now, there's an idea worth fighting for.– Marco Sumayao