Airline to sue TV station over racist pilot names

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, July 15, 2013 10:30 EDT
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An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 passenger jet after it crashed and burst into flames at San Francisco International Airport (AFP)
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South Korea’s Asiana Airlines said Monday that it would file a lawsuit against a San Francisco-based television station after a news report incorrectly identified several pilots with racially offensive fake names.

KTVU-TV immediately corrected the mistaken names after an anchor read them on air last Friday afternoon as producers flashed a graphic of racist, fake names for Asians next to an image of the aircraft that crashed in San Francisco on July 6.

The names were: “Captain Sum Ting Wong,” “Wi Tu Lo,” “Ho Lee Fuk” and “Bang Ding Ow.” The station claimed it verified those crew members’s names with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which also apologized and blamed the errant confirmation on a summer intern.

A spokesperson for the airline told The Associated Press on Monday that the company would sue to “strongly respond” to what it views as “a racially discriminatory report” aired by an American news outlet. The NTSB will not be targeted by the lawsuit.

Three people were killed as a result of injuries sustained in last Sunday’s crash. Another 182 were injured, and a total of 307 people were on the flight from Shanghai to San Francisco. Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the crash.

This video is from WPIX-TV, aired Sunday, July 14, 2013.

This video of KTVU’s original report aired July 12, 2013.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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