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December 7, 2021
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CNN: Pizza for Italy and Dracula for Romania. South Korean broadcaster apologizes for its Olympic ‘inexcusable mistake’

CNN reported on the wave of criticism the South Korean broadcaster received after its ‘performance’ during the opening ceremony at the Olympics. Precisely, the broadcast was full of stereotypes. What happened?

The South Korean broadcaster considered it better to offer its viewers something different. Something unusual. Something which turned out to be, as they admitted, an ‘inexcusable mistake‘.

Namely, each country was described on-screen by captions or images. A few examples for you to understand the dimension of it all:

  • Team Romania entrance was accompanied on South Korean TV by an image of Dracula.
  • Team Italy entrance was accompanied by an image of a pizza
  • Team Ukraine offered the South Korean broadcaster the opportunity of displaying images from the Chernobyl disaster
  • Team El Salvador entrance was acompanies by an image of Bitcoin, as the cryptocurrency is legal in this country
  • For Team Norway a salmon fillet was shown

And the examples go on…

The captions used by the broadcaster were even more intriguing:

  • When Team Haiti entered the arena, the South Korean viewers could read on their TV screens: ‘The political situation is fogged by the assassination of the president.’
  • Marshall Islands were described for the South Korean viewers as ‘a former nuclear site for the US’
  • Syria was described by the words: ‘Rich underground resources; a civil war that has been going on for 10 years.’

Yes, the local broadcaster apologized for this ‘inexcusable mistake’, but the stereotypes about the nations will certainly live longer than these Olympic games. And the Italians indeed make the best pizza out there and the Norway fishermen catch the tastiest salmon, but this is not something to define a nation, especially during the Olympics.

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