MBC Issues Third Apology For Airing Inappropriate Pictures After The First And Second Ones Spark Criticism From Disappointed Viewers

“MBC now tells the world to learn Korean if they want an apology. Would I find some sincerity if I did? Somehow I doubt it.”

Following the recent controversy around MBC‘s use of inappropriate pictures and phrases to introduce the countries competing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (held in 2021 after being postponed due to the outbreak of COVID-19 around the globe)…

MBC | Mediaus

… the South Korean broadcasting channel has issued a third apology on its official Twitter account. The initial apology, which came immediately after the channel’s coverage of the opening ceremony, led viewers to push for “a more official one.”

Olympic reporters apologizing at the end of the opening ceremony coverage. | MBC

In today’s coverage of the Opening Ceremony, we used inappropriate images to introduce the athletes representing countries like Ukraine and Haiti. We also used inappropriate captions to highlight some of the other countries. We apologize to the viewers and the people of Ukraine and other countries.


In response, MBC tweeted its second apology in Korean. This tweet, however, did not please the disappointed Korean viewers who claimed, “No one will understand the apology since it’s written in Korean.”

The channel continued to receive fierce backlash when a string of “irrelevant tweets” about the channel’s variety shows followed the apology tweet. One netizen commented that MBC is playing down the offensiveness of the broadcast on a global level by “brushing it off with a single, insincere tweet.”

MBC’s third version, now in English and pinned to the top of the feed, arrived 13 hours after the Korean version garnered 3.8K+ quote retweets — all criticizing that “insincerity” of the apology. According to the new translated apology, MBC is currently undergoing investigations to figure out why such “an inexcusable mistake” has been made and it assured the viewers that “strict follow-up measures will be taken based on the investigation results.”

| @withMBC/Twitter

Unfortunately, MBC’s claim that the pictures and phrases used were “intended to make it easier for the viewers to understand the entering countries quickly” has sparked an entirely different discussion online. A majority of Twitter replies and quote retweets pointed out that this “sad excuse of an apology” is not only “utterly disrespecting the viewers worldwide,” but also “gaslighting the Korean ones” to have been the reason the channel used those pictures and phrases in the first place.

The Ukrainian athletes being introduced alongside the picture of Chernobyl. | MBC

Make it easier for the viewers?! Oh, no way. Don’t you dare blame it on us. You must think we’re really dumb to not only believe in your hearts that we need those pictures to acknowledge those countries, but also try blaming the whole thing on us. I don’t think so. This is your ignorance, this is your fault, this is all on you, MBC. Stop making excuses and close business. You already lost all professionalism and have nothing to spare anyway.

— Korean Netizen

Meanwhile, the Blue House petition created to demand that MBC takes full responsibility for the international outcry has gone under review.

Source: @withmbc and THEQOO