Image 01 Image 03

More Fallout After TV Station’s Fake Pilot Names Faux-Pas

More Fallout After TV Station’s Fake Pilot Names Faux-Pas

A California TV station and NTSB intern are facing more fallout today, after an embarrassing mistake led a KTVU anchor to read on-air the (obviously) fake pilot names of Asiana Flight 214.  That plane crash landed on a San Francisco runway on July 6th, killing three and injuring over 180 passengers.

We covered the whole ordeal here at Legal Insurrection.

The incident sparked outrage, as some asserted that fictitious names like “Captain Sum Ting Wong” and “Ho Lee Fuk” were racist and insensitive.

The TV station later apologized for the error, on-air and online, noting that it had first confirmed the names with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).  The NTSB followed suit with an apology, blaming the mistake on a summer intern who “acted outside the scope of his authority.”

Apparently the apologies weren’t enough.  There has since been some additional fallout.

The NTSB summer intern has apparently been released from his job, according to NBC.

And Asiana Airlines says it intends to sue KTVU over the false report.

From CBS News:

Asiana Airlines announced Monday that it was going to sue a San Francisco TV station that it said 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.


Asiana has decided to sue KTVU-TV to “strongly respond to its racially discriminatory report” that disparaged Asians, Asiana spokeswoman Lee Hyomin said. She said the airline will likely file suit in U.S. courts.

She said the report seriously damaged Asiana’s reputation. Asiana decided not to sue the NTSB because it said it was the TV station report, not the U.S. federal agency that damaged the airline’s reputation. Lee did not elaborate.

I’m not entirely certain how Asiana intends to try and prove that this KTVU report is responsible for damaging its reputation, but I guess we’ll see.



Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


“no longer an intern” … “released”

Is there something wrong with “sacked” or “fired” ?

    Neo in reply to Neo. | July 15, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    My personal favorites are “sent to the ‘excess pool'” and “redeployed” (as in “redeployable human resources”).

    Gmax in reply to Neo. | July 15, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    The British says “declared redundant.” lol

      snopercod in reply to Gmax. | July 15, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      I actually got a layoff notice once reading “You have been declared surplus”. Sheesh…

>>”She said the report seriously damaged Asiana’s reputation…”

Really? You sure it wasn’t landing a plane into a sea wall that did that?

    GrumpyOne in reply to raven. | July 15, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    The best thing that Asiana execs could do is to keep their mouth shut since the cause of the accident appears to be their responsibility period.

    The NTSB has canned the intern (who was probably unpaid) and that is that.

    I guess that all of this is related to the new culture that says nothing is my fault!

They are going to sue the TV station?

“She said the report seriously damaged Asiana’s reputation.”

There is one other small thing that happened recently that is damaging to their reputation, and they can’t sue their way out of it.

    Asian is nuts to sue…but if you ever spent any time in Korea you will find they have no problem expressing anger. They have short fuses.

    But as to damaged reputations, flying your plane into a sea wall will damage things a lot worse than some goofy punk prank read on air.

As someone who is married to an Asian, who has two (adopted) Korean grandchildren and a future Korean daughter-in-law, I find it difficult to discuss these fictitious names objectively or rationally.

That’s because whenever the subject is discussed, I am too convulsed with uncontrollable laughter! Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Low, Ho Lee Fuk, Bang Ding Ow – HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!

To those who have been trained like lapdogs to be “offended” over every ethnic joke, I say: grow the hell up.

    tarheelkate in reply to Stogie. | July 15, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Thanks, Stogie. I have an Asian sister-in-law (not Korean,though). I laughed hysterically when I read those names. Surely, surely nobody took this seriously? The names don’t even look Korean. Asiana has enough real problems to make this entirely insignificant.

    What nobody is telling us is who gave this joke to the TV station in the first place. Was the NTSB intern the source?

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Stogie. | July 15, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    What Asiana is doing with this suit makes them look worse than they already did for the crash.

    Asiana should be focusing its legal resources on the victims and sorting out what happened, not some little joke in which the TV station was the entity that looked dumb. In no way did that reflect on the airline.

    I think Asiana is just using this to divert attention away from their failures. Picking on a little TV station is ridiculous and makes them look mean and small at a time when they need to look concerned, gracious and generous.

    cazinger in reply to Stogie. | July 15, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    I believe the airline referred all questions concerning the pending legal action to their corporate counsel, Wi Tsu Yu.


Is this an unpaid intern? I guess you get what you pay for.

    TeacherinTejas in reply to Sanddog. | July 15, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Intern was probably bitted because he worked for Obama and got zilch and then worked for Elizabeth Warren and the Cherokee Princess who wants a $22 minimum wage didn’t pay the intern either. Went to to NTSB and probably snapped.

crash landing a plane full of people because no one was watching the trainee to make sure he was making a proper approach is more damaging to their rep than someone getting away with a practical joke.

suing over it in court just makes sure more people hear about it, and makes them look stupider than they already do.

someone should remind them of the Streisand effect… or better yet, let’s not, and have another good laugh at their expense instead.

how can they sue? station called ntsb in good faith.

    snopercod in reply to dmacleo. | July 15, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Absence of Malice

      absence of altitude….

      Malice might not be necessary on the part of the Station (being already present on the part of the hoaxer). The Station might be would be strictly liable for “republishment” because they knew (or should have known) that the names were fake. They have a higher burden as a “news” organization. The pilots themselves are obviously not “public figures” under NYT v. Sullivan; the question would be if Asiana itself would be treated as a public figure for those purposes.

      The problem will be proving “damages.” Although the individual pilots may be able to claim that their names are forever tainted with the fake names now, with Asiana suing on the pilot’s behalf. However, depending on the size of the litigation budget, Asiana might just threaten and bluster in order to get a settlement out of the station for Insurance policy limits.

Oh, it’s all like a Japanese diaper….. a saka hockey hung lo!

I’m still wondering where these names came from in the first place.

The station called the NTSB to confirm the names…but where did the station come up with the names?

Allow me to hypothesize…This has all the earmarks of a joke email that was floating around and somehow got sucked into the intake of the Legitimate News Maw…

I suspect that it was helped along by the probability that if you collected the cerebral matter from all the craniums present at the station when this went down, you could not of made up a single complete brain with the lot.

As for Asiana suing the station…kinda reminds me of the DEA agent who shot himself in the foot while demonstrating his gun-handling skills to a grade school assembly and then shot himself in the foot again, figuratively speaking, when he sued the DEA for releasing the video of the incident. Some things are best left to die a natural death.

    No, the NTSB intern wasn’t the originating source. KTVU says it read the names to the intern and the intern confirmed. Which makes me think he must have searched online and found them when asked to confirm and just assumed they were accurate. KTVU won’t say who at the station got those names or where they got them. I haven’t had the time yet to search for this myself, but my guess would be that a scan of a few popular viral online forums or Twitter might just happen to have had those names. Just a guess, mind you…but yes, it has those hallmarks.

      CalFed in reply to Mandy Nagy. | July 15, 2013 at 4:57 pm

      Thanks, Mandy. Let us know if the station ever fesses up to their source for the names in the first place.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Mandy Nagy. | July 15, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      I’m not positive, but I think the original story said the names did indeed originally come from the NTSB. The TV station called the NTSB to verify the names and some other points.

      rabidfox in reply to Mandy Nagy. | July 15, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      What is wild is that the TV station read the names to that NTSB intern and STILL didn’t pick up on the joke! Talk about brainless.

    mariner in reply to CalFed. | July 15, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Well, except that the DEA jerk-off actually sued and got money.

      CalFed in reply to mariner. | July 15, 2013 at 8:34 pm

      Nope. DEA Agent Lee Paige sued the DEA and the DEA was granted summary judgement. The summary judgement was affirmed by the DC circuit in January of last year.

woodchuck64 | July 15, 2013 at 3:42 pm

This just in, we have the name of the NTSB intern who erroneously confirmed Aiana214 pilot names, she is … Anita Job. Job could not be reached for comment.

Intern released? From what? NTSB Gulag?

Carol Herman | July 15, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Satire. Protected speech. Airheads delivering newscasts? Hiring decisions. Sometimes made by people with high pay. And, other times? Made by people who wear knee pads when they meet management.

Went viral because this is a great story.

“Ho Lee Fuk”! ‘Gim Jo Bak’ ??

Earth To Asiana: Your airline reputation crashed and burned because your flight crew crashed and burned doing a simple as dirt landing. Lan Tu Lo

Tocqueville | July 15, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Who was it that said “the Government is us and we are doing the right thing”?

Yukio Ngaby | July 15, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Want to bet that the intern was just being snarky and told the news sarcastically “Yeah, yeah. Those are like TOTALLY their names.” I mean that joke was filtering around a day after the crash.

And how stupid are the news guys at KTVU? Gee, Capt. Sum Ting Wong doesn’t sound too Korean, but what the heck… LOL. Dummies.

I don’t care what anybody says-

That was by far the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long while.

Couldn’t stop laughing. I don’t even want to look at those names again-crack up every time.

“The NTSB intern has apparently been released from his job…” When I saw reference made to an intern working for the Federal Government, I was wondering if it was Monica Lewinsky….

Yes, Asiana Airlines should sue. I hear the law firm of Dewey, Cheatem & Howe is accepting new clients.

PersonFromPorlock | July 15, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I seem to recall reading that Koreans are notorious for prejudice against non-Koreans. True? False?

I interact with Taiwanese every day in my job. At birth their parents give them Chinese names, of course, but they also give them English names to be used when they grow up for business. Some of the English names are, let’s say, unusual. Does anyone know if other Asian cultures do the same?

    Baker in reply to guycocoa. | July 15, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    I’m not sure but I can remember from my chat days that often Chinese would use English names of their own choosing obviously. You could spot them just by their name because virtually everyone else used made up names like KittyKat and the like. The younger Chinese, however, used simple english names like Polly, Susan, David, etc. I noticed they sounded like the list of a 5th grade class from the 1960’s.

    Barnestormer in reply to guycocoa. | July 16, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Don’t know about other Asian cultures, but I interact with journalists every day. At birth their parents give them English names, like Cooper, or Lawrence or Chris. But after J-school they often adopt names more aligned with their pet social causes, a “nom de journo” if you will. So I’ll be the last to mock that unfortunate Channel 2 News reporter, Mi Dum Hak.

Proof journalists are idiots. How do you look at Ho Lee Fuk or Sum Ting Wong and not think something is a bit off? And you confirm with an intern?

These are the same idiots who went out of their way to sell the obamarhoid.