American TV broadcasting company NBC has apologised for an insensitive remark made by its Asian correspondent Joshua Cooper Ramo, who said that "every Korean" revered Japan for its recent achievements as a nation.
According to multiple media reports, including MSN, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Korea Herald, Ramo said during the Parade of Nations at 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony that Koreans view Japan as a cultural, technological and economic example that "has been so important to their own transformation". His comment drew flak for implying that South Korea had forgotten about the 35 years of Japanese occupation during World War II.
A petition targeting "all victims of the Japanese imperialism" was also launched, demanding an apology from NBC for "defending Japanese imperialism" during the opening ceremony. It received 12,959 out of 100,000 signatures at the time of writing. NBC has since apologised for the comment, adding that it understands the Koreans were "insulted" by them, according to MSN.
Netizens took to Twitter to voice their displeasure, describing the comment as "abusive", "defamatory" and "ignorant". One user also compared Ramo's praise of the Japanese occupation of Korea as advocating Nazi persecution of Jews.
Wow can’t believe the commentator just said “every Korean” will tell you how much Japan has meant to their development. A lot of older Koreans who have memories of Japanese occupation would beg to differ. #openingceremony #Korea @nbc
— Marika Yi (@marikapedia) February 10, 2018
— JH (@awoken97) February 10, 2018
#OpeningCeremony commentator u insulted the winter olympic host country with abusive and defamatory statement against South Koreans when Japan entered the stadium. @NBCOlympics shame on u by providing false view about Japanese invasion of Korea History. Shame on you @nbc — Yong Lee (@analyslee) February 10, 2018
Cannot believe what @ncb said during the #PyeongChang2018 #OpeningCeremony on Korea and Japan. Whoever responsible for the brainless comment should apologize profusely. Too sick to tweet further. Shame on you #nbc you ignorant ****s. — summergirl (@missginasayshi) February 10, 2018
IOC bans any demonstration of political or racial propaganda in the Games.
NBC commentator's praising Japan's colonization of Korea
it's the same as advocating Nazi persecution of the Jews
Shame on you NBC!@NBCOlympics@Olympics@iocmedia
— 나달#이다야언니 (@kihsCharlotte) February 10, 2018