Australian comic Alex ‘Shooter’ Williamson, the show 20 To Oneand the entire Nine network are all in the sights of the internet’s massive K-pop fandom after the network aired a segment about South Korean mega-group BTS.

BTS has spent much of this year completely dominating the world. They’re a seven-member boy band with billions of YouTube views, the first Korean band to have a number one single in America, and they have an army of followers that non-fans are suddenly going to know a lot about.

It all started with Channel Nine’s ’20 To One’. The countdown show aired on Wednesday evening with an episode focusing on “global crazes” and listed BTS at number 18.

For those unaware of ’20 To One’, the show’s premise revolves around a bunch of would-be celebrities reacting to things: this segment featured stars like Australian Idol’s Rob Mills, comedian Jimmy Carr, and celebrity blogger Perez Hilton.

There’s a few lines that may have upset fans, like Jimmy Carr riffing on the possibility of explosions in Korea: “When I first heard something Korean had exploded in America, I got worried… So it could have been worse. But not much worse.” Rob Mills went on to call the singing “passable”. The segment’s voiceover featured quotes like “only one member speaks English”. Fans probably weren’t too happy with BTS being called “the biggest band you’ve never heard of,” either.

Shortly after the episode aired, an Australian BTS fan account posted a series of tweets calling the segment  xenophobic, and disrespectful.

The tweet thread would go viral as BTS fans retweeted it thousands of times. Soon, other fan accounts starting getting involved, managing to make the #Channel9Apologise hashtag trend at number one in Australia. The original @AustraliaBTS Twitter thread demanded an apology, and so did fans across the world.

Responding to the backlash, a Channel Nine spokesperson said the program was lighthearted, didn’t breach any broadcast regulations, and was meant to humorously highlight the popularity of the group. “We apologise to anyone who may have been offended by last night’s episode,” said the statement.

In the space of less than 24 hours both the #Channel9Apologise and (American spelling) #Channel9Apologize have trended across the globe,  including in the US. There is no corner of the Earth without BTS stans, and the ones with an internet connection are palpably not thrilled.

Not exactly helping the situation die down, Australian comic Alex Williamson – who has no association with Channel Nine – also got involved in a way that fans of his comedy might find familiar but that the international fanbase found to be a bit much. Basically, he called them cunts.

Williamson’s tweet went viral in its own right, and it attracted an avalanche of furious replies. So far, over 8,500 people have responded to the tweet and it has taken the spotlight off of Channel 9 and shone it brightly on the comedian. He even has his own hashtag now, too: #FireAlexWilliamson.

In the hours following his initial tweet Williamson doubled down, insisting that the clip wasn’t racist and that he had no problems with “Asian men and women doing something genuinely important,” but did not have time for boy bands. This went on into the early hours of Thursday morning.

On Thursday morning the #FireAlexWilliamson hashtag had also gone viral internationally, something the comic didn’t seem phased by given he is self-employed. Williamson uploaded a video around 10AM saying he “started World War 3 last night.”

“It’s not a very fair war,” he said. “It’s literally myself versus the whole fandom of BTS which is apparently a boyband / K-pop band. It all started with a tweet where an Australian program was accused of being racist towards them when really they were just being dismissive towards boy bands.”

“I would’ve said the same thing about Backstreet Boys, I said the same thing about One Direction.”

“It’s not a race issue my friends, it is an issue about boybands being a gimmick designed to extract the dollars from the hip-pockets of 15-year-olds.”

All of this falls into the phenomenon of cancelling: where fandoms do serious investigative work to reveal past or current wrongdoings of celebrities. This is precisely what the BTS fandom did.

Some fans have uploaded videos of themselves scrolling through collections of old tweets that they have formatted into emails ready to send off. “You think I fucking came to play?” reads one. “I didn’t.” “We can end your career Alex,” reads another.

Those working to find problematic things said by Williamson may have some issue getting him canceled though, as the bulk of his schtick is deliberately being offensive.

Some fans have even started teaming up with other ‘fandoms’, covering a broad spectrum of online pop culture. Yes, the Potterheads are involved, as this thread alleges.

For now, the BTS fandom is swelling around Williamson and Channel 9’s apology. Who knows when, or if, it will stop.

Alex Williamson did not respond to PEDESTRIAN’s request for comment.