Appalling live TV blunder disgusts Korea
AMERICAN TV network NBC was forced to fire one of its Olympic analysts after he inexplicably said Koreans are grateful for Japan's role in their economic development - while ignoring the one-time imperial power's brutalisation of the peninsula.
The network was left red-faced by the comments of former journalist Joshua Cooper Ramo, who worked as a commentator during coverage of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.
Japan ruled Korea with an iron fist from 1910 to 1945 in a bloody occupation that still strikes a raw nerve. Koreans around the world criticised Ramo's remarks on social media and a petition soon circulated online.
"Every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation," said Ramo, who sits on the board of Starbucks and FedEx while working as co-CEO of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's consulting firm.
The Korea Times reported Sunday that the network had planned to use Ramo for other Olympics events - but then had no choice but to axe him.
"It was possible for him to do more with us here, now it is no longer possible," an NBC official told Korea Times.
Ramo made the comment after noting that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in attendance.
NBC said it's "grateful" PyeongChang's organising committee accepted the network's apology.
NBC didn't catch the mind-boggling gaffe despite broadcasting the opening ceremonies on tape in the United States - 14 hours after it happened.
The network had no real explanation for the crazy comment other than to say sorry.
"We apologised quickly both in writing and on television for a remark made by one of our presenters during Friday night's opening ceremony," according to a 30 Rock statement.
NBC anchor Carolyn Manno had also read a statement on-air Sunday, trying to limit the damage of Ramo's nonsensical comment.
"We understand the Korean people were insulted by these comments and we apologise," she said.
Japanese domination of Korea remains a sore point between the two Asian economic powers.
Tokyo only formally lukewarm-apologised two years ago for the sexual enslavement of thousands of Korean women during World War II.