Asiana to Sue TV Station for Its Cringe-Worthy Reporting

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 15 2013 9:58 AM

Asiana to Sue TV Station for Its Cringe-Worthy Reporting

As we flagged for you late last week, a local TV station on Friday ran what was one of the most cringe-worthy Asiana segments you're going to see anywhere. A KTVU anchor read the "names" of the four pilots who were on board the 777 when it crash-landed in San Francisco. I put names in quotes because they were really just part of what reads pretty clearly as a racially offensive joke:

Those names again: "Sum Ting Wong," "Wi Tu Lo," "Ho Lee Fuk," and "Bang Ding Ow." After realizing the mistake, the network quickly aired a correction. The NTSB later offered its own apology, blaming a summer intern for "erroneously confirm[ing]" the names to the network. It remains unclear, however, whether the intern simply confirmed the set of fake names that were read to him or her, or if he or she came up with them in the first place. Regardless, Asiana appears to have decided who was to blame: the station. Via the Associated Press:

Asiana announced Monday that it will sue a San Francisco TV station that it said damaged the airline's reputation by using bogus and racially offensive names for four pilots on a plane that crashed earlier this month in San Francisco. ... Asiana has decided to sue KTVU-TV to "strongly respond to its racially discriminatory report" that disparaged Asians, Asiana spokeswoman Lee Hyomin said. She said the airline will likely file suit in U.S. courts.
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Lee said that the airline decided not to sue the NTSB because, in the words of the AP, "it was the TV station report, not the U.S. federal agency that damaged the airline's reputation." She didn't elaborate any further.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.