Leading up to the run-off election in Argentina, the far-right populist candidate Javier Milei and his partner Victoria Villaruel have been facing unexpected backlash from a coalition of Taylor Swift fans and K-pop enthusiasts.
Milei, an extreme proponent of libertarianism, suggested implementing the use of the US dollar in Argentina’s economy and potentially legalizing the buying and selling of organs. Despite leading the polls before the first round of voting on Sunday, he ultimately came in second to the more moderate finance minister, Sergio Massa.
Massa, aged 51, and Milei, aged 53, are currently racing to gain support before the second round on November 19th.
On Thursday, a new aspect of the election was introduced as a group of Taylor Swift fans from Argentina labeled Milei and his Freedom Advances party as belonging to the “anti-democratic right”. They also compared Milei to Trump.
An account associated with Swifties against Freedom Advances tweeted about the views of their candidates, who downplay the atrocities of the dictatorship, oppose marriage equality, deny the existence of a gender pay gap, and are considering legalizing the sale of organs.
“As stated by Taylor, it is imperative that we align ourselves with the correct side of history,” the group posted on Twitter.
A week before the runoff election, Swift has already sold out three concerts at the River Plate football stadium in Buenos Aires, which has a capacity of 80,000 seats.
Jorge Rial, a popular TV host in Argentina, referred to the event as “a devastating blow” for the outspoken conservative.
“You have just committed the greatest error of your life by crossing Taylor Swift fans. Back down, fool, you cannot surpass this,” Rial stated.
In the meantime, Victoria Villarruel, Milei’s partner in the election, has faced criticism from upset BTS fans due to a series of tweets from 2020 that have resurfaced. One of the tweets insinuated that the band’s name sounded similar to a sexually transmitted infection.
The BTS Argentina account tweeted their condemnation of candidate Victoria Villarruel’s hateful and xenophobic comments towards BTS.
The group from South Korea, consisting of seven members, has become a global sensation in the music industry. They are one of the rare groups, alongside the Beatles, to have four albums reach No. 1 in the US within a span of two years.
On Wednesday, Villarruel expressed frustration with the constant stream of notifications from old Twitter conversations by posting a lament.
Juan Grabois, a politician from Argentina, who was defeated by Sergio Massa in the August primaries for his center-left coalition, issued a cautionary response to the exchange.
“I stand by BTS and will not tolerate anyone disrespecting them,” Grabois wrote. “K-pop should not be messed with.”
Villarruel frequently utilizes social media to incite conflicts on cultural issues, ranging from reproductive rights to the height of men.
However, she specifically directs her anger towards posts regarding human rights and Indigenous rights concerns.
She has repeatedly criticised human rights organizations, suggesting that a Milei government would cut off their government funding, and has frequently attacked the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo campaign group, founded by relatives of victims of the dictatorship.
Villarruel has voiced disapproval of displaying LGBTQ+ and Indigenous community flags in classrooms, stating that this “indoctrination and erasure of our national identity” would cease if she and Milei were elected.
On Thursday, Alejandro Kim, a previous VP of the Argentinian-Korean chamber of commerce, addressed her remarks about BTS and stated that the group contributes to approximately 0.5% of South Korea’s GDP.
“Great job! In just 200 characters, you managed to combine xenophobia, racism, and ignorance!” he exclaimed.