A “Howard Stern Show” crew member is facing backlash for implying that BTS is carrying the coronavirus. BTS was out promoting their latest album “Map of the Soul: 7” when they stopped by the SiriusXM New York headquarters on Friday, February 21. SiriusXM is home to the Howard Stern radio show and one of its staff members, Salvatore “Sal” Governale,” was not happy with their visit.
“BTS is from Korea and Sal was freaking out,” Stern said to his listeners during his February 24 show, according to Variety. “BTS was here at Sirius on Friday and Sal was saying, ‘There’s no way those guys don’t have the coronavirus.’ He was like every asshole.”
Sal Governale has been with Howard Stern since 1996 when Stern was working on terrestrial radio. He’s best known for his prank calls.
Stern clarified that BTS was not from China and co-host Robin Quivers noted that the group was touring all over the world all the time. The show’s producer Gary Dell’Abate even said that “every celebrity who walks through the [Sirius XM] door is traveling all over the world — not just Asians.”
However, this was not enough for Governale who continued to add more gasoline to the flame.
“I walked into the lobby and it was like Chinatown, out of control, there were so many Asian people,” Governale said. “These people are traveling, they’re not locals, they’re going from country to country to country. It’s a dangerous situation. You got to look at it that way — they’re on airplanes; they’re in hotels.”
Not surprisingly, Sal was called a racist and Stern addressed this the very next day.
“I got so many emails about what an idiot you are for avoiding a Korean boy band,” Stern said. Stern noted that he himself was “super paranoid about diseases and germs” but that Governale “came off as racist.”
The coronavirus started in Wuhan, China, and has infected nearly a hundred thousand people in multiple countries.
BTS is the world’s biggest K-pop act out of South Korea. Their latest album “Map of the Soul: 7” has sold more than three million copies and it hasn’t even been out for a week yet.