NBC is apologizing for remarks made by a network commentator during its coverage of the PyeongChang Winter Games that left Koreans angry and insulted, with one South Korean newspaper blasting the comments as “incorrect and insensitive.”
Furthermore, the network fired the announcer over the offensive remarks, according to Market Watch.
During NBC’s coverage of the opening ceremony, Mike Tirico and Katie Couric were joined in the broadcast booth by NBC Asian Correspondent Joshua Cooper Ramo.
According to a report from MSN, Ramo caused outrage with remarks made while Japan’s team entered the Parade of Nations. “Now representing Japan, a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945,” said Ramo. “But every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural and technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.”
Ramo’s “ignorant comment,” reported the Korea Times, resulted in widespread outrage throughout South Korea.
According to the Korea Times, during the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910-1945, “Many Koreans suffered enormously, often from rape, forced labour, torture and death. The issue of the comfort of women, the victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery, is one of the many atrocities that occurred during that period. Few Koreans would agree with what Ramo said of Japan.”
The newspaper noted that Ramo’s comments “enraged many” as “tens of thousands of Koreans and non-Koreans alike have criticized Ramo and NBC Sports on their social media, urging them to correct this misinformation and apologize.”
“Your comments about Korea are absolutely rubbish,” wrote one commenter on NBC News’ Facebook page, reports the Korea Times. “After decades of human rights violations, exploiting our resources, and attempts to destroy our heritage, Japan is nowhere close to being thanked, but absolutely despised.”
“NBC should have hired an unbiased and culturally sensitive commentator,” reads a comment on Twitter.
On Saturday, NBC issued an apology, read live on the air by anchor Carolyn Manno on NBCSN: “During our coverage of the Parade of Nations on Friday we said it was notable that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the trip to Korea for the Olympics, ‘representing Japan, a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945 but every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.’ We understand the Korean people were insulted by these comments and we apologize.”