Fake Asiana Pilot Names

Fake Asiana Pilot Names

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Fake Asiana Pilot Names refers to four gag names read aloud on a local news broadcast after an NTSB representative reportedly confirmed the names. It was later revealed this representative was a summer intern.


Asiana Airlines Flight 214[1] crash landed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6th, 2013, resulting in 3 deaths and more than 180 injuries. While reporting on the crash during their noon newscast on July 12th, Bay Area Fox affiliate KTVU co-anchor Tori Campbell reported that the names of the pilots on board were "Sum Ting Wong," "Wi Tu Lo," "Ho Lee Fuk" and "Bang Ding Ow." Within three days, videos of the broadcast had been reuploaded to YouTube thousands of times[8], with the most-viewed version accruing nearly 7.2 million views.

Notable Developments

News Coverage

The day of the news broadcast, a number of internet culture blogs and news sites covered the faux pas including MSNBC[9], Forbes[10], Business Insider[11], The Huffington Post[12], Buzzfeed[15], Gawker[16], Uproxx[17], Hypervocal[18], TV Spy[19] and the Daily Beast.[20]

Apologies Issued

On the evening of July 12th, the NTSB issued an apology via press release[4] noting that a summer intern had acted on his own authority by confirming the fake names, and asserted that appropriate action would be taken to assure a similar error would not happen again. The same day, KTVU issued an on-air apology[5] (shown below), attributing these racist gag names to a joke that had spread online. Though it is unclear where they came from, the single topic Tumblr blog Public Shaming[2] and racial justice group Changelab[3] both reported a number of racist tweets that occurred immediately after the crash.

Asiana Airlines Lawsuit

On July 15th, the Associated Press reported[6] that Asiana Airlines will be suing KTVU for making a racially discriminated report. In a statement, the company asserted that the use of these names "not only disparaged Asians in general through the use of racially charged epithets, but also severely damaged the reputation of Asiana Airlines."[7]

DMCA Takedown

On July 22nd, newsroom gossip site FTVLive[21] reported that KTVU began filing copyright infringement claims against a string of YouTube videos depicting the now infamous gaffe, while criticizing it as a "gutless move" in trying to cover up their mistake.

"HD: KTVU erroneously report..." This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by KTVU

as the story was getting picked up by Wired[22], Media Bistro[23] and other internet news sites, KTVU vice president Tom Raponi issued the following the response:

“The accidental mistake we made was insensitive and offensive. By now, most people have seen it. At this point, continuing to show the video is also insensitive and offensive, especially to the many in our Asian community who were offended. Consistent with our apology, we are carrying through on our responsibility to minimize the thoughtless repetition of the video by others.”

Search Interest

External References

[1] Wikipedia – Asiana Airlines Flight 214

[2] Tumblr – publicshaming: Idiots Use Plane Crash in San Francisco to Mock Asians, Blame North Korea

[3] Changelab – Asiana Airline Crash Brings Out the Racists on Twitter

[4] NTSB – NTSB statement on erroneous confirmation of crew names

[5] KTVU – KTVU Apology for Friday Noon report

[6] LA Times – Asiana Airlines to sue Bay Area TV station over fake pilot names

[7] NBC News – Asiana to sue TV station over racially offensive fake pilot names

[8] YouTube – Search Results for "ktvu asiana pilots"

[12] MSNBC – KTVU reports fake racist names of Asiana Airlines 214 pilots from NTSB intern

[13] Forbes – News Station KTVU Punk'd Over Asiana Aircraft Pilot's Names (Updated)

[14] The Huffington Post – KTVU Reports Racist Joke As Names Of Asiana 214 Pilots (VIDEO) (UPDATE)

[15] Buzzfeed – TV Anchor Reads Fake, Racist “Pilot Names” In On-Air Fail Of The Year

[16] Gawker – KTVU Reports Asiana Air Pilots Were “Sum Ting Wong” and “Ho Lee Fuk”

[17] Uproxx – San Fran Area News Station KTVU: Asiana Flight 214 Pilots Were Named ‘Sum Ting Wong’ & ‘Ho Lee Fuk’

[18] Hypervocal – Sum Ting’s Wong All Right: KTVU Airs Fake Names For Asiana 214 Pilots

[19] TV Spy – Epic KTVU Fail: Anchor Reports Pilot Names Including ‘Sum Ting Wong’ and ‘Wi Tu Lo’

[20] The Daily Beast – NTSB Intern Confirmed Racist Names


[22] Wired – Local Newscast Uses DMCA to Erase Air Crash Reporting Blunder

[23] Media Bistro – POLL: Smart or Not? KTVU Has Video of Fake Asiana Pilot Names Pulled from YouTube

(give props to Some Guy In Tennessee for making this article)

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