NBC apologized Saturday night after the network’s supposed Asia expert Joshua Cooper Ramo drew criticism for claiming during the Olympic Opening Ceremony that “every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.”
Many Koreans felt that Ramo’s comment misrepresented their actual feelings toward Japan, which occupied Korea for 35 years early in the 20th century and recently balked at acknowledging its role in the sexual slavery of Korean women during World War II.
In the several days after the Opening Ceremony, an online petition demanding that NBC apologize for Ramo’s remark gained nearly 12,000 signatures. It read, in part:
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. And no, no South Korean would attribute the rapid growth and transformation of its economy, technology, and political/cultural development to the Japanese imperialism.
Shame on you NBC.
Japan's occupation in Korea is one of the deepest scars in Korean history.
NO. It was NOT the cultural, technological, and economic example.
We remember it as 'Stolen and explioited' part of our history.
— Joyce (@themoonhalo) February 10, 2018
@NBCOlympics @nbc @NBCNews "Every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation." This is what NBC said right after mentioning the Japanese occupation of Korea. Seriously? Shame on you NBC.
— Esther Kwak (@jjurun00) February 10, 2018
IOC bans any demonstration of political or racial propaganda in the Games.
NBC commentator's praising Japan's colonization of Korea
it's the same as advocating Nazi persecution of the Jews?
Shame on you NBC!@NBCOlympics @Olympics @iocmedia
— 나달?#이다야언니 (@kihsCharlotte) February 10, 2018
Here was NBC’s apology, read on air Saturday by anchor Carolyn Manno:
“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.”
In addition to his comment about Korea and Japan, Ramo drew criticism for several other remarks during the Opening Ceremony, including his assertion that the next three Olympics (in South Korea, Japan and China, respectively would expose the world to “all of the Asian cultures.”
NBC's Olympics Asian Analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo says having the next three Olympics in Korea, Japan and China is an "opportunity to experience all of the Asian cultures." @NBCOlympics, maybe next time hire an Asian Analyst that knows Asia has more than three cultures???
— Harrison W. Inefuku (@hnltraveler) February 10, 2018
Ramo, who won an Emmy and a Peabody Award for his contributions to NBC’s coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, works as a consultant co-chief executive of Kissinger Associates, a consulting firm founded by Nixon-era secretary of state Henry Kissinger.