On Friday, February 21, BTS made a promotional stop at SiriusXM studios in New York as the Korean supergroup often does in cities they tour in. However, this time around, panic over the coronavirus is rising, and a byproduct of that is inaccuracies about the spreading disease born out of ignorance. One such incident occurred on The Howard Stern Show, and clearly, the infamous shock jock wasn’t thrilled about it. He threw staffer Salvatore “Sal” Governale right under the bus the following Monday.
“BTS is from Korea and Sal was freaking out,” Stern explained to his millions of faithful listeners. “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.”
Stern is a well-known germophobe, and even he wasn’t concerned about sharing the building with BTS. He’s also not a big fan of spreading racially charged misinformation, and the rest of the staff joined him in blasting Sal over his remarks.
Stern then pointed out that BTS are Korean (not from China where the current outbreak was first identified) and co-host Robin Quivers weighed in with her view: that BTS and their team “are touring all the time” (in fact, the band had been splitting time between the U.S. and Korea this past month) and producer Gary Dell’Abate noted that “every celebrity who walks through the [SiriusXM] door is traveling all over the world — not just Asians.”
Despite being presented with pretty big holes in his theory, Governale refused to budge.
“I walked into the lobby and it was like Chinatown, out of control, there were so many Asian people,” he said on the air. “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.”
By the next morning, Stern’s inbox was flooded with angry comments about Governale, and the host not only unloaded them on the air, but fully agreed with the overall consensus.
“I got so many emails about what an idiot you are for avoiding a Korean boy band.” One commenter labeled Governale, as well as fellow “Stern Show” staffer Ronnie Mund who made comments about avoiding Chinese food, as “f–ing old, racist pieces of s–t,” as well as “misinformed.”
Stern even chimed in to say, “I’m super paranoid about diseases and germs, but you came off as racist.”
Coincidentally, President Trump is scheduled to host a press conference this afternoon about the spread of the Coronavirus to the United States.