NBC, the only network on which Americans can watch the Olympics, has been forced to issue an apology to the entire nation of South Korea after its anchors, Mike Tirico and Katie Couric, and its Asian correspondent, Joshua Cooper Ramo, accidentally insulted the Korean people during their Opening Ceremonies broadcast.
The trio was discussing visiting Olympic dignitaries, when they settled on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to Yahoo News.
“In the booth with Mike Tirico and Katie Couric, NBC Asian correspondent Joshua Cooper Ramo said that ‘every Korean’ respected Japan for their recent achievements as a nation, insinuating that South Korea had forgotten about the 35 brutal years of Japanese rule that ended after World War II,” Yahoo reported.
There is a well-known and longstanding hostility between the two nations, and Twitter was merciless, as Koreans excoriated Ramo for his cultural insensitivity.
“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,” reported the Korea Times, which also called the comments “incorrect and insensitive.”
On Saturday, NBC issued a comprehensive apology.
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.