A German radio host has apologised after comparing K-pop group BTS to the coronavirus during a live broadcast.
Matthias Matuschik said he did not intend to "racially insult," adding that making a connection between the band and Covid was "completely wrong".
The incident comes amid an increase in anti-Asian sentiment and racist attacks since the pandemic began.
BTS is one of the biggest bands in the world with an incredibly large and vocal fan base.
Many took to social media to share their outrage at the comments.
On Wednesday, during his show on Bayern3, Mr Matuschik played the group's cover of Coldplay's "Fix You" on his show, calling it "blasphemy".
"For this you will be vacationing in North Korea for the next 20 years!" he added.
Mr Matuschik then described BTS as "some crappy virus that hopefully there will be a vaccine for soon as well".
The host then started to backtrack telling listeners: "You can't accuse me of xenophobia. I have a car from South Korea. I have the coolest car ever."
The station issued a statement on Thursday saying: "It is the character of this show and also of the presenter to express his opinion clearly, openly and unvarnished."
It added that he "overshot the mark in his choice of words" and he did not intend to hurt the feelings of the BTS fans.
But many on social media responded by sharing the quote "racism is not an opinion" in English, German and Korean.
Others said his comments highlighted anti-Asian racism.
A German radio presenter equating the South Korean band BTS with Covid-19, a virus which has killed 2.5M+ & devastated the lives of hundreds of millions, reflects the *age-old* anti-Asian sentiment called “yellow peril.” Anti-Asian racism is a global, historic & systemic issue.— Min Jin Lee (@minjinlee11) February 26, 2021
In his statement, Mr Matuschik said: "I have thought a lot in the past few hours and I understand and accept that I could have racially insulted many of you, especially the Asian community, with my words.
"That was never my intention, but I know that in the end it is how the words are received by the recipients - and not how they were meant," he added.
It comes amid a rise in attacks on Asian people around the world.
A United Nations report found that there were 1,800 racist incidents against Asian Americans in the US between March and May 2020. It linked the attacks and other incidents to the coronavirus outbreak.