NBC has issued a formal apology after facing social media outrage due to a comment made by commentator Joshua Cooper Ramo during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, as per Hollywood Reporter.
In reference to how great it was to see Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attending the ceremony in PyeongChang, Ramo said, “Every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural and technical and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.”
So why’s this so bad? Well, from 1910 to 1945, Japan ruled over Korea, occupying the entire peninsula after the fall of the Korean Empire. With this history in mind, a ton of Koreans felt that Ramo’s assertion that they modeled themselves after their former foreign rulers was a shitty thing to say, and I honestly can’t blame them.
After seeing the blowback, NBC issued a formal apology which (courtesy of Billboard) reads,
During our coverage of the Parade of Nations on Friday we said it was notable that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the trip to Korea for the Olympics, ‘representing Japan, a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945 but every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.’ We understand the Korean people were insulted by these comments and we apologize.
It was a super insensitive thing to say, especially given the history between the two nations. While it’s doubtful that Ramo really meant anything bad by it, this proves why commentators of international events should really brush up on their history beforehand.