On the January 26 broadcast of KBS special, 'Listen to It From the Candidate', the governor of Chungnam appeared as the guest. During the talk about popularity, the governor said, "I turned into EXO overnight", and to this, Park Young Hwan replied, "You know that EXO is very popular, right? I heard they're getting beat by BTS nowadays but they're still a fantastic group."
After the broadcast, fans bombarded Park Young Hwan with criticism for making an unnecessary comparison of the two groups. He then responded to the criticism with an apology on Facebook, and wrote:
"I think my statement hurt the feelings of EXO fans. I want to clarify that I did not have any intentions to disparage EXO. I also did not have intentions to compare EXO and BTS. I was trying to carry out the debate with Governor Ahn in a more friendly way by mentioning two of the hottest idol groups in Korea. I'm personally a huge fan of EXO and even attended their concert in the U.S. I look forward to seeing EXO's best promotions in the future and I sincerely apologize for hurting the feelings of the fans."