KTVU Producers Fired Over Airing of Fake Asiana Pilot Names

Friday, 26 Jul 2013 06:17 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Three producers from San Francisco TV station KTVU-TV have been dismissed following a news report on the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash earlier this month in which fake, racially offensive names were used for the four pilots on the plane.

Producer Brad Belstock, investigative producer Roland DeWolk, and special projects producer Cristina Gastelu were dismissed by KTVU-TV, San Francisco Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross reported.

An additional producer, Elvin Sledge, announced his departure from the station citing health reasons, according to the Chronicle.

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Legal action against KTVU-TV had initially been considered, but later dropped, by Asiana Airlines, which claimed that its reputation had been damaged by the San Francisco TV station’s use of bogus and racially offensive names for its four pilots.

The phony pilot names, which were displayed on-air and read off by a KTVU-TV anchor covering the story, included "Captain Sum Ting Wong," "Wi Tu Lo," "Ho Lee Fuk" and "Bang Ding Ow. "

After reading the names in the report, anchor Tori Campbell told viewers, "The NTSB has confirmed these are the names of the pilots aboard Flight 214 when it crashed. We are working to determine exactly what roles each of them played during the landing on Saturday."

Following a commercial break, Campbell, who had apparently been unaware at the racist, misguided attempt at humor, read the actual names of the pilots.

The video clip of the newscast subsequently went viral on YouTube before being removed for copyright infringement, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The false names were eventually attributed to a summer intern at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), who apparently provided the network with the names following a reporter inquiry.

"Earlier today, in response to an inquiry from a media outlet, a summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft," the NTSB said in a statement.

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Of the 291 passengers aboard the Boeing 777 aircraft, which crashed and burst into flames while attempting to land at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, three travelers were killed in addition to more than 180 others being injured.

Among the deceased were two teenage girls from China, one of whom was accidently run over by a motor vehicle, most likely a fire truck at the scene, according to officials.

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