Local Bay Area TV Station Apologizes for Racist Asian Joke Names in Asiana Airlines Plane Crash Report

Jul 12, 2013
6:59 PM

UPDATE: NTSB adds more clarification to statement.

UPDATE: The NTSB confirmed that a summer intern was the one who confirmed the joke names the station was asking about.



We got this one from 8Asians.com, and yes, it actually happened. Watch this report from Oakland’s KTVU:

The station had to apologize after the break:

SFGate.com wrote:

KTVU Channel 2 is apologizing for an on-air gaffe that the station — or viewers –  won’t soon forget.

During the noon newscast Friday, co-anchor Tori Campbell, announced that “KTVU has just learned the names of the four pilots who were on board” Asiana flight 214 when it crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday.

She then read from a teleprompter while a TV graphic displayed four fake names that clearly were someone’s idea of a joke.

The first name — “Captain Sum Ting Wong” — should have been a give-away that something really was wrong. But Campbell kept reading… “Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk, Bang Ding Ow.”


After a break, Campbell made an on-air correction, clarifying that the names were clearly wrong — but that they had confirmed them earlier with the National Transportation Safety Board.

The 8Asians blogger said it best:

When I first read the names, I was like WTF? But when I saw the video, I was like, how did the new reporter or the person feeding the teleprompter not know the names were fake.This literally like something out of The Simpsons. I actually feel a little sorry for the news reporter, because she is clearly clueless that these names are *clearly* fake while reading the names of the pilot.


KTVU issued a statement after the gaffe. Here is what one outlet reported:

About 15 minutes later, the station corrected its mistake, but claimed an NTSB official had confirmed the names. A further apology was issued online by KTVU vice president and general manager Tom Raponi:

“We sincerely regret the error and took immediate action to apologize, both in the newscast where the mistake occurred, as well as on our website and social media sites. Nothing is more important to us than having the highest level of accuracy and integrity, and we are reviewing our procedures to ensure this type of error does not happen again.”

Earlier in the week, KTVU issued a release claiming that the station was the first to break news of Sunday’s crash and the first to have a live report from the scene. In the release, Channel 2 news director Lee Rosenthal also took pride in what he deemed to be mistake-free coverage.

“Being first on air and on every platform in all aspects of our coverage was a great accomplishment,” he said, “but being 100 percent accurate, effectively using our great sources and social media without putting a single piece of erroneous information on our air, is what we are most proud of as a newsroom.”