Following an in-house investigation, San Francisco TV station KTVU has dismissed three high-ranking producers involved with misreporting the names of four Asiana pilots with Flight 214, which crash landed upon arrival at San Francisco International Airport.
KTVU investigative producer Roland DeWolk, special projects producer Cristina Gastelu and producer Brad Belstock “were all sent packing,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle. A fourth, noon news producer Elvin Sledge, told colleagues he was leaving the station for health reasons.
During a news broadcast on July 12, anchor Tori Campbell read off the phony names as they appeared on screen beside an image of the damaged airliner. Campbell, who was reading off a teleprompter and clearly unaware the names were bogus, issued an apology after the newscast came back from a commercial break. The station said they had confirmed the names with an official at the National Transportation Safety Board.
The NTSB later said the names were confirmed by a summer intern acting outside the scope of his duties. The intern was dismissed.
Until now it has been unclear where the fake names originated but sources have told the Chronicle that they were received by the station via email from a reputable source. The names — Captain Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk, and Bang Ding Ow — were posted on the Internet two days prior.
The on-air prank has become a public relations disaster for KTVU and quickly went viral on YouTube. Asian American groups spoke out against the incident and decried it as racist and playing upon caricatures of Asians. At the request of the KTVU parent company, Cox Communications, videos of the broadcast have been removed to prevent further offense. (end)