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NBC apologizes after Olympic= analyst’s comments sets off a firestorm

joshua ramo
Ramo of Kissinger Associates.

Rentz/Getty Images for Hubert Burda Media

  • NBC’s Olympic Asian analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo made
    comments that many people viewed as culturally insensitive
    during the Winter Olympics.
  • The network has issued an apology, and said in a
    statement that Ramo “will have no further role on our

An NBC commentator was taken off the air over some remarks he
made that were deemed insensitive to Japan-South Korean

The network said Joshua Cooper Ramo was dismissed after
he said “every Korean will tell you that Japan is a
cultural, technological, and economic example, has been so
important to their own transformation.” His comments were
seen an inflammatory to many South Koreans and
foreign-policy experts.

Ramo did however acknowledge that Japan “occupied Korea from 1910
to 1945.”

NBC responded to the backlash in a statement to Reuters:
“Joshua Cooper Ramo has completed his responsibilities for NBC in
Pyeongchang, and will have no further role on our air,” an NBC
spokesman told the news wire service.

Japan’s occupation of the Korean Peninsula was marked with
humanitarian atrocities ranging from forced prostitution of
Korean women to forced labor. Though relations between the two
nations have arguably improved, Japan’s occupation still remains
a provocative subject for many South Koreans, particularly among
the older generation. Disputes over its shared past
are still a point of contention today.

South Koreans and foreign-policy experts decried Ramo’s remarks:

Severalonline petitions with
thousands of supporters have surfaced amid the criticism.

“Any reasonable person familiar with the history of Japanese
imperialism, and the atrocities it committed before and during
WWII, would find such statement deeply hurtful and outrageous,” a
petition with over 15,900
supporters said. “And no, no South Korean would attribute the
rapid growth and transformation of its economy, technology, and
political/cultural development to the Japanese imperialism.”

The Pyeongchang Organizing Committee said that it “informed NBC
of the errors in their commentary and the sensitivity of the
subject in Korea,” according to Reuters.

NBC Sports anchor Carolyn Manno issued a statement for Ramo’s comments
following the public backlash:

“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.”

Ramo left the network after the Olympic opening ceremony. Though
media reports suggested he was involuntarily fired, an NBC Sports executive
reportedly noted that Ramo was contracted
only for the opening ceremony and that his employment came to a
natural end.

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