The New Enemies of Argentina’s Far Right : Taylor Swift and BTS Fans


  • The New Enemies of Argentina’s Far Right: Taylor Swift and BTS Fans - The New York Times

    Javier Milei, a far-right libertarian economist, has stayed aloft in Argentina’s presidential campaign on the wings of the youth vote.

    To win the runoff election this month, he will need to hold on to that key demographic, pollsters say. But now, a major hurdle stands in his way: Swifties.

    Squadrons of Argentine fans of the pop star Taylor Swift have gotten political. They have trained their online sights on Mr. Milei and his rising libertarian party, framing them as a danger to Argentina, while Ms. Swift herself is preparing to arrive in Argentina next week for the launch of her Eras Tour outside North America.

    “Milei=Trump,” said one post from a group called Swifties Against Freedom Advances, which is the name of Mr. Milei’s party.

    But it isn’t just Swifties who are organizing against Mr. Milei. He and his running mate, Victoria Villarruel, are also contending with criticism from legions of loyal fans of another musical juggernaut, the K-pop band BTS. They are so active and organized on the internet that they have become known as the BTS Army.

    Last week, the fury of that army was unleashed upon Ms. Villarruel after a series of her tweets denigrating the K-pop group resurfaced. In 2020, she likened the name BTS to a sexually transmitted disease. She also mocked the dyed pink and green hair of some members.

    Those tweets prompted such a fierce response from BTS fans, accusing her of xenophobia, that a large BTS fan club in Argentina felt compelled to try to calm their fellow fans down. “The message that BTS always transmits is one of respect to oneself and everyone else,” said a statement from the club, which has been viewed 1.9 million times, according to X.

    Ms. Villarruel’s only reaction online to the BTS blowback has been a post in which she called her S.T.D. post part of “funny chats” from “a thousand years ago.”

    Mr. Milei’s political base is particularly reliant on young voters. One survey of 2,400 people in October showed that nearly 27 percent of his support came from people ages 17 to 25, versus less than 9 percent for Sergio Massa, the center-left economy minister who opposes Mr. Milei in the runoff. People under 29 account for 27 percent of all eligible voters in Argentina.
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    Many young voters said they see Mr. Milei, who has taken to wearing leather jackets and wielding a chain saw at his campaign events, as the “cool” outsider candidate who has also become a sort of online meme.

    #Fans #K-Pop #Election_Argentine #Taylor_Swift