A South Korean broadcaster has apologized for offensive Olympic coverage that aired an image of a pizza next to the Italian team and made prejudicial remarks about other countries.
Syria was described as “a country with rich underground resources and 10 years of civil war,” while an image of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster was superimposed next to the Ukraine delegation during coverage of the opening ceremony, the Korea Herald reports.
The Romanian team was shown next to an image of Dracula, Norway was associated with salmon, and an image of sushi was displayed when the Japanese team appeared on screen.
Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation also described the Marshall Islands as “a former nuclear test site for the United States,” and Haiti as a “politically unstable country with the assassination of its president.”
Korea’s Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation apologized at the end of the broadcast, saying “inappropriate images and captions were used to introduce the participating countries.”
They ran a picture of...Dracula alongside Team Romania last night. *facepalm* pic.twitter.com/7GYtZoo7iG— Hyunsu Yim (@hyunsuinseoul) July 24, 2021
The company issued a formal apology in a press release on Saturday. “We would like to apologize once more to the countries and their people who are offended by our broadcast for the Olympics opening ceremony,” it said.
The coverage appeared to strike a similar tone to the way Olympic national teams were presented at the 2008 Beijing games, in which the broadcaster described Sudan as an unstable country experiencing a long civil war and Zimbabwe as a country with deadly inflation.
That year, the Korea Communications Commission penalized the broadcaster for its coverage.