Tue, Feb 13, 2018 - Page 16 News List

NBC boots analyst over divisive Japan comment

Reuters, PYEONGCHANG, South Korea

Joshua Cooper Ramo, a commentator who offended South Koreans during coverage of the Pyeongchang Olympics opening ceremony by straying into the sensitive issue of Japan-South Korean relations, has been taken off the air, US broadcaster NBC said yesterday.

“Joshua Cooper Ramo has completed his responsibilities for NBC in Pyeongchang, and will have no further role on our air,” an NBC spokesman said in an e-mail.

NBC had in December last year announced that Ramo would be a contributor at the Games, having previously served as an expert on culture and geopolitical issues during the 2008 Beijing Olympics for the network.

The agency that represents Ramo did not respond to a request for comment.

Ramo, who has written books on China and is a director of FedEx Corp and Starbucks Corp, said as athletes paraded into the Games stadium on Friday that “every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.”

South Koreans around the world criticized his remarks on social media and a petition soon circulated online.

Japan, which colonized the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945, is the subject of mistrust and ill-feeling in South Korea.

The Pyeongchang Organizing Committee had earlier said that it “informed NBC of the errors in their commentary and the sensitivity of the subject in Korea.”

NBC apologized in writing to the committee for the remark, which the committee said it had accepted.

The committee did not immediately respond to the news that Ramo had been let go.

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