A day after it was reported that Asiana Airlines was mulling over taking a legal action against KTVU-TV, the South Korean company has now decided to sue the TV station. "This legal action is being taken because of the KTVU report that not only disparaged Asians in general through the use of racially charged epithets, but also severely damaged the reputation of Asiana Airlines," Asiana Airlines said in a statement released on Monday, July 15.
Airline spokesperson Lee Hyomin said the company decided to sue KTVU-TV to "strongly respond to its racially discriminatory report." She added that the airline had selected a U.S. law firm and would likely file suit in U.S. courts.
KTVU-TV, a Fox-affiliated television station on the San Francisco Bay Area, was under fire after broadcasting bogus and racially offensive names of four pilots for the airline's crashed Flight 214 on Friday. It then apologized for the blunder, saying that it had checked the names with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
NTSB initially denied the claim, but then revealed that a summer intern confirmed the names to the TV station "outside of the scope of his authority." It also posted an apology on its website, saying it "apologises for inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed as those of the pilots."
Paul Cheung, the president of the Asian American Journalists Association, stated, "We fail to understand how those obviously phony names could escape detection before appearing on the broadcast and were spoken by the news anchor. We urge KTVU to conduct a thorough review to prevent similar lapses."
Asiana Airlines Flight 214 slammed into the seawall and crashed during an attempted go-around at its destination, San Francisco International Airport, on July 6. Two passengers died at the crash scene and a third passenger died while in intensive care.
The four pilots returned to South Korea last week. They reportedly fear they will face criminal prosecution in the carrier's home country after making a dangerously low and slow approach to San Francisco International Airport in good weather.