South Korean Broadcast Network Apologizes for 'Inexcusable Mistake' During Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony

Varied country flags above Tokyo 2020 sign for OlympicsVaried country flags above Tokyo 2020 sign for Olympics
Getty Images

During the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, South Korean broadcast network MBC used stereotypes while introducing different countries, including an image of pizza for Italy and for Romania a depiction of Dracula.

South Korea has garnered some negative attention at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and its MBC broadcast network has issued an apology for its "inexcusable mistake" during the opening ceremony.

The Tokyo Olympics has been a long-awaited event after being postponed last year due to COVID-19 safety concerns. 

The opening ceremony of the event was to include information about each of the countries, but South Korea's MBC network took to stereotypes and negative historical events as captions for the participants. 

This included a caption that described the Marshall Islands as "once a nuclear test site for the US." 

When Ukraine's athletes came on-screen, MBC showed an image of the Chernobyl disaster — the world's worst nuclear accident. Romania’s image for the broadcast was one of Dracula. 

The insensitivity continued, as the athletes from Italy were introduced with an image of a pizza, and Norway with a salmon fillet. 

MBC tweeted an apology for “the concerned countries and their viewers,” saying that the images were intended to aid in the audience's understanding of the countries involved, but that a more “thorough” editorial process will ensue next time around.

Related Stories