July 25, 2013 10:04am PT by Erik Hayden
3 KTVU Producers Fired for Asiana Airlines Reporting Fiasco
The Bay Area TV station that aired fake, offensive names of Asiana Airlines pilots has reportedly fired staff members involved the incident.
On July 12, KTVU's on-air report about the pilots of the Boeing 777 airliner that crash-landed at San Francisco Airport earlier in the month included names like "Captain Sum Ting Wong," "Wi Tu Lo" and "Ho Lee Fuk."
In an on-air apology the same day, KTVU anchor Frank Somerville explained that "we never read the names out loud, phonetically sounding them out." The station, he said, spoke with someone at the National Transportation Safety Board who confirmed the names. The agency later revealed that an NTSB intern had confirmed the fake pilot names (the intern was subsequently fired also).
After the video clip of the error went viral, Asiana Airlines initially considered legal action against the TV station but decided against a suit. KTVU filed a copyright claim against YouTube to remove the videos. "At this point, continuing to show the video is also insensitive and offensive, especially to the many in our Asian community who were offended," KTVU's general manager Tom Raponi told Mediabistro's TV Spy last week.
The question of where the fake names originated from is also beginning to get an explanation. The bad information "came to the station via e-mail from an expert source who had provided information to the station in the past," the Chronicle reported, citing sources.
"It is KTVU’s policy to not comment on any personnel issues," the station said when contacted by The Hollywood Reporter about the reported firings.