Asiana Air Says It Will Sue Over Stupid News Program Broadcasting Offensive Joke Names Of Crash Pilots

By now you’ve probably already heard about how the local Fox affiliate here in the Bay Area of California last week broadcast what it apparently believed were the names of the four pilots on the Asiana Air plane that crashed on landing at San Franciso Airport a week ago.

Almost everyone I’ve spoken to about this is stunned that no one realized these were obviously fake, racist names. You could maybe see one of them getting through, but all four? And it’s not like this is in an area without a large Asian population. Nearly 25% of the population in this region is of Asian heritage. You’d think someone would have caught that these were fake before it went on air. But, no one did. If you haven’t seen the video of the newscaster reading out those names, it’s really quite incredible:
As you might imagine, KTVU quickly apologized, blaming the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) who it insisted had confirmed the names. At first the NTSB insisted that it had nothing to do with it, saying that “we do not release names” ever. However, a few hours later, the NTSB was forced to issue a statement apologizing, and saying that a summer intern, who was acting way, way, way outside the scope of his authority, had confirmed the names:

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 does not release or confirm the names of crewmembers or people involved in transportation accidents to the media. We work hard to ensure that only appropriate factual information regarding an investigation is released and deeply regret today’s incident.

Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated.

Of course, the NTSB has also said that the names “originated” with KTVU and that the intern was “trying to be helpful.” Either way, the end result was pretty clear: KTVU (and, to some extent, the NTSB) were quickly mocked widely online.

I had figured the story would die down over the weekend, but apparently, Asiana Air is talking about potentially suing both KTVU and the NTSB over this incident, claiming that it harmed their reputation.

Asiana said Monday that it will sue a San Francisco TV station that damaged the airline’s reputation by using bogus and racially offensive names for four pilots on a plane that crashed earlier this month in San Francisco.

Yes, the use of those names was racist and offensive. And, yes, it was absolutely ridiculous that it made it on the air. But, it’s almost as ridiculous to then file a lawsuit over such a thing. Asiana is going to have one hell of a time proving any “damage” to the airlines reputation from that report, as opposed to, I don’t know, the actual crash landing. It seems that Asiana’s reputation is already hurt, but not because of any fake names, but rather for its inability to properly land an airplane.

The whole reason the names became a story was because basically everyone who didn’t work at KTVU knew they were fake and offensive names. No one actually thought that they were real. There was no damage done to Asiana from those names being used. The damage was to KTVU’s credibility (not to mention the credibility of whoever hires summer interns at the NTSB). KTVU and the NTSB have both apologized, and Asiana should focus on making sure its pilots can land their planes rather than suing over this.

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via Techdirt. Asiana Air Says It Will Sue Over Stupid News Program Broadcasting Offensive Joke Names Of Crash Pilots