NBC benches Olympic commentator who offended South Koreans

Shinzo Abe cheers Japan at the Winter Olympics in South Korea
(Image credit: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images)

On Monday, NBC said that Joshua Cooper Ramo, a commentator whose remarks about Japan and Korea during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics had offended Koreans, "has completed his responsibilities for NBC in Pyeongchang, and will have no further role on our air." NBC had "apologized quickly both in writing and on television" for Ramo's remark, the network said in a statement, and "we're very gratified that [the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee] has accepted that apology."

NBC had hired Ramo, a co-CEO of Kissinger Associates and a former journalist at Time, to provide cultural and geopolitical analysis during the Pyeongchang Olympics, as he had during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. While noting the arrival of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the opening ceremony, Ramo said on air that "every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological, and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation." Japan's colonial occupation of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945 has left long-lasting scars on Japanese-Korean relations, and Koreans do not believe Japan deserves credit for South Korea's postwar transformation.

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