NBC was forced to issue an apology after facing major backlash following a guest making remarks that were received as historically and culturally insensitive by viewers.
NBC analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo, during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics, said the attendance of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was momentous to the people of Korea.
“Every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural and technical and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation,” USA Today quoted Ramo as saying.
Ramo – who was hired to bring historical context to the coverage – was pulled from the coverage and NBC issued an apology.
“We apologized quickly both in writing and on television for a remark made by one of our presenters during Friday night’s Opening Ceremony,” NBC said in a statement.
“We’re very gratified that [the Pyeongchang Olympic Committee] has accepted that apology. We look forward to the next two weeks of competition by the athletes, and to showcasing the beauty of Korea, its culture and state-of-the-art technology.”
According to adweek.com, the comment inadvertently praised “Japan's brutal annexation of the Korean peninsula in the lead-up to World War II. It was a comment many Koreans found offensive considering the 35-year occupation remains a painful memory.”
Jung Min-ho of The Korea Times added that the comment angered tens of thousands of Koreans and non-Koreans. "His (Ramo's) incorrect and insensitive comment about Korea's history has enraged many of its people.”
An MSN report further explained that Ramo saying “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.”
An online petition titled “Demand apology from NBC for defending Japanese imperialism during the 2018 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony” was stated. It received about 12,000 signature.
“Any reasonable person familiar with the history of Japanese imperialism, and the atrocities it committed before and during WWII, would find such statement deeply hurtful and outrageous,” the petition stated.
“And no, no South Korean would attribute the rapid growth and transformation of its economy, technology, and political/cultural development to the Japanese imperialism.”