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Asiana Airlines sues California TV station for offensive names read during flight crash news report

A summer intern mistakenly confirmed the racially discriminatory names that were attributed to Flight 214’s pilots

Asiana Airlines will be suing Oakland, Calif. TV station KTVU over “inaccurate and offensive” names that the station read during its Friday noon broadcast as the names of the pilots of Flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6.

A summer intern at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) mistakenly confirmed the names that KTVU anchor Tori Campbell read on air. The names phonetically spelled phrases like “We Too Low” and “Something Wrong.” Asiana Airlines said the broadcast was “demeaning” and “racially discriminatory.” The NTSB says that it did not come up with the names, but that they were just presented by the station and confirmed by the intern, who is no longer with the agency. KTVU has not commented on the origin of the names.

Over the weekend, Asiana said it was also going to sue the NTSB, but as of Monday, the company had changed its mind. Spokesman Na Chul-hee said the airline has retained a U.S. law firm to pursue its defamation claim against KTVU, but that Asiana has no plans for a separate lawsuit against the NTSB.

KTVU apologized for the incident on its website and on air. "We sincerely regret the error and took immediate action to apologize, both in the newscast where the mistake occurred, as well as on our website and social media sites," KTVU/KICU Vice President and General Manager Tom Raponi told CNN. "Nothing is more important to us than having the highest level of accuracy and integrity, and we are reviewing our procedures to ensure this type of error does not happen again."

Read more at CNN and NPR.


For more defamation suits on InsideCounsel, see below:

Former Penn State president will sue Louis Freeh

ABC loses bid to keep “pink slime” case in federal court

Law firm files counterclaim in sexual harassment suit

George Zimmerman sues NBC for defamation

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