South Korean TV network MBC’s coverage of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony on Friday went awry when it used what it has now admitted were “inappropriate” photos and captions to refer to countries competing in the games.
The broadcaster drew the most ire on Twitter after it showed a photograph of Chernobyl — the site of the 1986 nuclear power plant disaster ― as Ukraine’s athletes entered the National Stadium, reported Agence France-Presse.
MBC also used pictures of pizza when Italy’s representatives arrived, salmon for Norway, sushi for Japan, a scene of unrest for Haiti, and a depiction of the fictional Dracula for Romania, according to Reuters.
Critics called out the network for propagating national stereotypes with its choice of images.
The Chernobyl image prompted the most anger.
Today is the day that Korean news network MBC used Genghis Khan and Chernobyl to introduce countries in the Olympics. Jeeeeeeeez 🤣🤦♀️ do better guys! pic.twitter.com/vxqUU4Tknl
— Ceri 🏴🇪🇺🇰🇷 (@cerikim_) July 24, 2021
MBC used a photo of Chernobyl to introduce Ukraine. MBC regularly demonstrated their cultural illiteracy, and it’s so embarrassing! pic.twitter.com/g6vIIYvX2P
— Jay Lim 🇰🇷 임병준 (@aQuoteAday) July 24, 2021
“In today’s Opening Ceremony broadcast, inappropriate photos were used when introducing countries like Ukraine and Haiti,” MBC said in a statement, per the New Zealand Herald. “Also, inappropriate photos and subtitles were used for other countries. We apologise to the viewers of Ukraine and other countries.”