'Homophobic', 'sexist': BTS fans attack YouTube star

A feud has erupted in the Twitterverse this week after YouTube personality Ethan Klein criticised K-pop giants BTS in a video that the boy band's fans have slammed as "homophobic" and "sexist".

"It's like a little fetish - a little twink gay fetish about these K-pop boys," the commentator on internet trends and popular culture said when reviewing YouTube's most liked videos of 2019. The BTS video for Boy With Luv (featuring Halsey) ranked second in the music video category.

"How did this become a thing in Western culture, where all these grown men or little girls are j***ing off to little K-pop boys?" he asked.

Klein - who posts under the name h3h3Productions - came under fire in thousands of tweets defending the K-pop stars, making #h3h3isoverparty one of the top trending hashtags in the United States.

Hours later, #BanKpopAccounts emerged as a top trending hashtag after it came out in support of Klein and criticised obsessive K-pop fans.

In reply, K-pop fans started tagging videos and GIFs of K-pop groups to #BanKpopAccounts.

The hashtag spat started after Twitter user @hoyasjoon, a long-time subscriber to Klein's channel and a BTS fan, tweeted a clip of Klein's comments. That clip has now nearly three million views.

Afterwards @hoyasjoon (who insisted on being referred to only by her Twitter handle for privacy reasons) said Klein's comments were "offensive and derogatory".

"He dismissed the whole industry and basically just called it a fetish. Very disappointing," @hoyasjoon told the South China Morning Post.

Klein did not respond to the Post's requests for comment, but he tweeted after #h3h3isoverparty trended: "Lighten up nerds, if you can't handle your hobby being made fun of a little bit then you are really are [sic] just a bunch of little girls j***ing off to kpop boys."

In his "final message", Klein uploaded a video clip of him dancing shirtless in his underwear while a live BTS performance played in the background.

This isn't the first time Klein has criticised K-pop. In an earlier video, he took issue with K-pop fans' obsession with the physiques of K-pop stars and oversensitivity about criticism of South Korean performers.

Although @hoyasjoon believes K-pop fans can be too obsessive, she disagrees that this "toxicity" justifies Klein's comments.

"There's always a lot of good with the bad," @hoyasjoon says of K-pop fandom. "The bad ones just get amplified."

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.