NBC correspondent Joshua Cooper Ramo angered many viewers during the Winter Olympics opening ceremony on Friday when he said that "every Korean" was grateful for Japan's role in their development—ignoring the sensitive, brutal history between the countries.
"Every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation," he said during the broadcast.
His tone-deaf comments received immediate backlash from those familiar with the contentious relationship between Koreans and the Japanese government following the country's 35-year-long occupation of Korea. Jung Min-ho of The Korea Times wrote, "His incorrect and insensitive comment about Korea's history has enraged many of [Korea's] people. Tens of thousands of Koreans and non-Koreans alike have criticized Ramo and NBC Sports on their social media, urging them to correct this misinformation and apologize."
As a result, NBC has confirmed that Ramo has been taken off the air for rest of this year's Olympics coverage. An NBC spokesman confirmed the news to Reuters: "Joshua Cooper Ramo has completed his responsibilities for NBC in Pyeongchang, and will have no further role on our air."
Before removing Ramo from the rest of the broadcast, the network issued an official apology that read: "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."
NBC anchor Carolyn Manno also read a statement on-air Saturday, saying, "We understand the Korean people were insulted by these comments and we apologize."