So This Happened Today


Good grief

Bay Area news station KTVU just reported that the pilots of Asiana’s disastrous flight 214 were the crack team of “Sum Ting Wong,” “Wi Tu Lo,” “Ho Lee Fuk,” and “Bang Ding Ow.”

Despite the names obviously being just a bunch of racist jokes, KTVU, which has since apologized for the report, claims in a statement given to Gawker—and read on the air—that an NTSB official confirmed the names to them earlier today.

I called senior officers Mike Hunt, Heywood Jablomie, and I. P. Freeley at KTVU for confirmation, but no one returned my calls.

Oh, and I am sure it will come as a great shock that KTVU is a Fox affiliate.

110 replies
  1. 1
    jon says:

    FAA Spokesman Dick Hertz provided the names.

  2. 2
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Because people dying in a plane tragedy is SO funny, doncha know?

  3. 3
    ruemara says:

    At this point, I’m believing that God isn’t Loki, it’s just a troll and Fox is his prophet. Common sense, does anyone have it?

  4. 4
    El Tiburon says:

    The stations co-general managers, Ben Dover and Suk Mai Koc, released a statement apologizing for the snafu.

    Look, it’s Friday so go piss off. It’s all I got.

  5. 5
    the Conster says:


    Dick Hertz from Holden?

  6. 6
    beltane says:

    @Patricia Kayden: I know. What is the matter with these people? Is every single person who works for Fox or its affiliates a morally bankrupt maggot? I am starting to think so.

  7. 7
    PeakVT says:

    Cripes, how big of a moron do you have to be to put that on the air?

    Evening news on the public airwaves != 4chan. In case anyone forgot.

    ETA: not sure if this is dumber than confiscating tampons and maxipads, though.

  8. 8
    MattF says:

    @beltane: Well, apparently. And it’s in the nature of a maggot to mature one day and become a shit-eating fly.

  9. 9
    Alison says:

    As a Bay Area resident, while KTVU is indeed a Fox affiliate, I can say that they generally are NOT Fox-ish. I wouldn’t call them liberal but, for example, in coverage of the same-sex marriage rulings, they definitely seem to see them as good news, and showed lots of celebration and happy couples getting married and such.

    I think this was just a number of people being incredibly stupid, which doesn’t excuse it, but just that I don’t think there was intentional malice on the part of the anchor or whoever. I sure hope not at least.

  10. 10
    Hal says:

    KTVU’s ombudsman, Guy Farting, is looking into this right now.

  11. 11
    quannlace says:

    Did you also call I.M.A.Pseudonym and Alias Undercover?

    Jesus, are conservatives permanently stuck in Middle School?

  12. 12
    PhoenixRising says:

    Can anybody explain the ‘racist’ part? I get the ‘stupid’ and the ‘potty humor’ parts, but how is this more racist than Mike Hunt?

    Unless the use of common Chinese names to parody Koreans is the racial angle, but are Asiana employees required to be or typically Koreans? I know the passengers were mostly Chinese b/c the flight came from China, but…I’m not seeing it.

  13. 13
    Seanly says:

    Did the person confirming the names end the call with “Baba booey”?

    I have to admit that I laughed at this but it was at the Fox station getting punked.

  14. 14
    beltane says:

    @Seanly: This would only have been funny if it was CNN and Wolf Blitzer was the one reading the names.

  15. 15
    Jager says:

    @jon: Only after he got permission to comment from his supervisor Harry Kuntz

  16. 16
    beltane says:

    The thread below this one tells me there is a real person out there with the name “Kim Du Toit”. Now that’s funny.

  17. 17
    Tom Levenson says:

    Our stupid meters go to 11.

  18. 18
    scav says:

    Ah, I can feel the glow of the profit from the right-sized lean and mean staffing decisions from here.

    No Tweet Snark Unbroadcast

  19. 19
    Violet says:

    Was this read on-air by I. M. Dumm?

  20. 20
    👾 Martin says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Because people dying in a plane tragedy is SO funny, doncha know?

    Wasn’t people. Was asians. They talk funny and steal our jobs.

  21. 21
    John O says:

    I played basketball with a real-life Mike Hunt. Good player, funny name. We always greeted him warmly with his full name.

    I cannot believe how many eyes this got past to be broadcast. How embarrassing. (But funny.)

  22. 22
    janut says:

    He must have gotten the names from Mr. Otto Hissass.

  23. 23
    Chickamin Slam says:

    Ted and Hellen came up with those names during a commercial break in the Zimmerman trial. They’re still trying to push the envelope. Har har …

  24. 24
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    And don’t forget the new book RACE TO THE BATHROOM by Willie Makit and illustration by Betty Donte.

  25. 25
    mai naem says:

    No way, it’s a Fox station? I am shocked. Shocked I said. Hand me those smelling salts. Oooh, oooh, how am I going to get over this. Where the hell’s my fainting couch?

  26. 26
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    No one actually read those names aloud before they were broadcast? Someone deserves to be fired for plain old-fashioned stupidity.

  27. 27
    John O says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    Right. Seems the issue here is competence more than anything else.

  28. 28
    Hal says:

    Ok, I just said the name Mike Hunt several times out loud. Is it supposed to mean what I think it means? I went to high school with a Mike Hunt and that never occurred to me as a teen.

  29. 29
    Comrade Mary says:

    @PeakVT: I hate to say it, but I think 4chan is actually wittier than that.

  30. 30
    Jager says:

    @John O: I played hockey with a guy named Dick Swingen, never thought about it until I was in Army basic and the DI said something about “swinging dicks” I broke out laughing.

  31. 31
    Comrade Mary says:


    I went to high school with a Mike Hunt

    Strangely enough, so did I!

  32. 32
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @PhoenixRising: Unless the use of common Chinese names to parody Koreans is the racial angle,

    “Ho Lee Fuk” is not a common Chinese name, I’m guessing.

  33. 33
    NotMax says:

    Not these?

    Oba Ma

    Pi Lo Tse

    Such admirable restraint they showed, yes indeedy.

  34. 34
  35. 35
    John O says:

    There’s the late, immortal Dick Trickle of NASCAR semi-fame (why he never got a Flomax deal I’ll never understand), and I interacted professionally once with an OB/GYN named Dr. Richard Stiff.

    Yes, it’s incredibly juvenile. But jeez, Hal!

  36. 36
    Quicksand says:


    I went to high school with a Mike Hunt and that never occurred to me as a teen.

    Unless you attended high school in a non-English speaking locale, I just don’t see how this is possible.


  37. 37
    Mike G says:

    Station manager Holden McGroin was unavailable for comment.

  38. 38
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @John O: Didn’t I.P. Freeley get the Flomax gig?

  39. 39
    the dude says:

    Got a record by Wayne King, called “Wayne King in Hi Fi”. As you do …

  40. 40
    Liquid says:

    Our shields can’t repel trolls of this magnitude!

  41. 41
    chopper says:

    when my wife was a librarian at a university she once met an asian patron by the name “Shiding Wang”. i shid you not.

  42. 42
    Killjoy says:

    KTVU used to be the gold standard in local news – fantastic local reporters, investigative journalism, fluff kept to a bare minimum.

    Haven’t lived in the Bay in a while so I don’t know if the station’s been Fox-ified or if it’s just the general trend of local news department atrophy, but this never would have happened in the Dennis Richmond era.

  43. 43
    Keith G says:

    As a Texas middle school teacher during the a period in the early to mid 80s when many Vietnamese student were enrolling, I called many rolls with names that included Phuc, Quac, and the ultimate stopper Se Min.

    As they got older students with such names responded to first day roll calling by saying “Here” as my lips began to form the first sound of their name.

  44. 44
  45. 45
    Bob says:

    John, you need to talk with Lotta Lunch. She has the skinny.

  46. 46
    Violet says:

    @Keith G: One of my Vietnamese students was named Dong.

  47. 47
    LanceThruster says:

    The cockpit crew were followers of spiritual guru Ellis Dee.

  48. 48
    Mnemosyne says:


    Can anybody explain the ‘racist’ part? I get the ‘stupid’ and the ‘potty humor’ parts, but how is this more racist than Mike Hunt?

    ‘Cause alla them Asians have funny names that sound like English words.

    Say them out loud and I think the racist intent will kinda leap out at you, especially as a group.

  49. 49
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Mike G: what about his brother Pat?

  50. 50
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Mike G: his cousin, Pat McGroin, was the quarterback at Penn State.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Keith G:

    I have an unusual European name and I can usually tell when the person calling roll has gotten to it, because there’s a long pause as they try to figure out how to pronounce it.

  52. 52
    NotMax says:

    Never encountered any such snigger-worthy names in school.

    Did have a classmate named Justin Case.

    And in college, there was one guy whose 5-letter last name had not a single vowel in it..

    During my time teaching, did have one student of the last name of Mork. This was after the Robin Williams program, so imagine he had been teased all throughout his school years.

  53. 53
    Eric U. says:

    I had a roommate named Phuc. Helped out a grad student name Yu Long Dong

    Musicians are always naming their boys “Les Paul” which is stupid. I knew a guy who named his daughter, “Amanda Lynn”

  54. 54
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: I heard he also did Yellow River.

  55. 55
    NotMax says:

    Oh, and while generally talking about odd names (may have mentioned this before), there is a family here named Silva with 3 sons.

    Son #1 named Sterling

    Son #2 named Quick

    Son #3 named Hi Ho

  56. 56
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Our other top story: Prince Albert recovering at home tonight after being let out of a can.

  57. 57
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Quicksand: Had a Michael Hunt in the school where I teach, back in the early ’90’s. At the same time, we had from Germany an AFS student named Horst Schimdt. Knew them both personally.

  58. 58
    A Ghost To Most says:

    I know a couple who, after 3 girls, tried one last time for a boy. They succeeded, and named him Justin Thyme [redacted].

  59. 59
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Fox and all, KTVU is normally one of the better news stations in the SF Bay Area, but you would think with the massive Asian American community in the Bay Area these names would have raised eyebrows in their news room.

  60. 60
    Trollhattan says:

    Discovered after a verrrry long time an inlaw’s father was named Harry Lantz. I completely lost it and I thought my bride was going to brain me with a canned ham when I couldn’t stop laughing. Had never heard the first name before.

  61. 61
    MattR says:

    @Davis X. Machina: The last 4 digits of my phone number growing up spelled out the word that fake name is playing on and my next door neighbors had the last name Hunt. We used to get prank calls every now and then and when I was really young I used to respond by earnestly telling them that Mike lived next door and asking them if they wanted the phone number. I can only imagine how confusing that was for the pranksters.

    I also had a friend who’s father was named Long Wang. I am pretty sure my friend with the last name Hu decided not to name his first born Sham, Guess or any of the other possibilities we came up with as teens.

    And I had a math text book that included a word problem featuring the Dover twins, Ben and Eileen.

  62. 62
    Trollhattan says:

    @Eric U.:

    Once worked in an office where there was a fellow named Johnson Dang. One day I was collecting my mail and noticed his tray nearby and like everybody, his last name was before the first. This completely killed me (yes, I’m eternally fourteen).

  63. 63
    JWL says:

    I was a 8 years old when JFK was murdered. I remember being annoyed that weekend cartoons were preempted by its coverage. I remember being ticked that Sea Hunt and Believe It Or Not wasn’t broadcast that 11/22 on KTVU. Or whatever kid’s entertainment show was cancelled that Friday night.

    The only entertainment to be had that weekend on Bay Area television was John Ford’s ‘Young Mr. Lincoln’, starring Henry Fonda. To this day, whenever I stumble across that movie, I time travel, like people do when they hear a song that takes them way back.

    Such are my bona fides where commenting about KTVU is concerned.

    I stopped watching TV news on a regular basis years ago, but KTVU was (and, I believe, still is) a solid organization in terms of its journalistic credibility. The station might have been bought by Murdoch, but I’ll give that devil his due– he hasn’t mucked with the solid journalism he inherited by virtue of the sale.

    The news department certainly got played, but it’s no reflection on their credibility.

  64. 64
    LanceThruster says:

    My body and fender man is Ben D. Bumper.

  65. 65
    El Tiburon says:

    True story: Urologist in Austin tex by the name of Dick Chop.

  66. 66
    The Other Chuck says:


    Wow. Did the teleprompter also read “Go Fuck Yourselves, San Francisco?”

    Actually I think even Ron Burgundy realized what he said sooner.

  67. 67
    Mnemosyne says:


    One of my friends had an 8-letter last name with one (1) vowel in it. She tried to argue that “y” is also a vowel so she really had two vowels in her name, but the rest of the judges voted against her.

  68. 68
    Felonius Monk says:


    Common sense, does anyone have it?

    ANSWER: Certainly not FOX News, nor Republicans, nor Conservatives. Not even God given that he/she allows the former three to exist.

  69. 69
    John O says:


    The news department certainly got played, but it’s no reflection on their credibility.

    YMMV. It’s a bad reflection on something (I still say “competence”), in my eyes, unless it was a prank to get intentionally fired, in which case it was a masterpiece.

  70. 70
    Haydnseek says:

    @ruemara: At this point, common sense is so incredibly rare, yet important, that it can safely be considered a superpower.

  71. 71
    mclaren says:

    Remember: KTVU is the victim here, all you haters.

  72. 72
    mclaren says:


    At this point, common sense is so incredibly rare, yet important, that it can safely be considered a superpower.

    LOL. Post of the day!

  73. 73
    Roger Moore says:


    During my time teaching, did have one student of the last name of Mork. This was after the Robin Williams program, so imagine he had been teased all throughout his school years.

    Let me assure you that people never forget that stuff. I still get stupid James Bond jokes almost 30 years after Sir Roger’s last film in the role. I’m sure I’ll still be getting them until the day I die.

  74. 74
    mclaren says:


    I have an unusual European name and I can usually tell when the person calling roll has gotten to it, because there’s a long pause as they try to figure out how to pronounce it.

    Let me guess: Dzugashvili. And after you emigrated and your dad Vasily changed his name, you’re constantly speaking up to defend him.

  75. 75
    NotMax says:


    The guy to whom I referred couldn’t argue even that.

    No ‘y’ in the name. Just 5 consonants.

    Always imagined the flunky at Ellis Island having a bad hangover the day his ancestors came through.

  76. 76
    kc says:

    I actually think the worst part of the story is that the station tried to blame the NTSB.

  77. 77
    JWL says:

    @John O: I have no clue what YMMV means (nor do I wish to know).

    But there is not a journalistic entity on the planet that hasn’t-or-can’t-be-fooled by that caliber of “joking”. After all, it’s why papers in The U.S. have always printed corrections. That, and the lawsuits, I mean..

  78. 78
    superfly says:


    I’ll second this, haven’t lived there for awhile, but KTVU did excellent newscasts back in the day, were one of the first to do the 1 hour newscast at 10pm, and took it very seriously.

  79. 79
    Grover Gardner says:

    “Can anyone explain the racist part?”

    Gladly. The made-up names not only play on the fact that “those Asians all look/sound the same” but they also imply that the pilots were so incompetent that they could only respond to the crisis by sitting there screaming “We too low!” and “Holy F*ck!”

    Imagine, if you will, a news report of a tragic blaze that jokingly identified a group of black firefighters as Isa Tooslo, Woz Eton Melon, and Bern Tua Crisp. Does that help?

  80. 80
    Grover Gardner says:

    (duplicate comment deleted, silly mobile interface!)

  81. 81
    NotMax says:


    Nothing blue about the acronym.

    Your Mileage May Vary

  82. 82
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    (In B 4 efgoldman)

    Classical music types used to joke about the (real-life, actually-named) violinist Josef Suk, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and pianist James Dick.

    Yes, they were the Suk Ma Dick Trio.

  83. 83
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Roger Moore: Now see, I always think of you as The Saint.

  84. 84
    Origuy says:

    KTVU is saying that they did check the names: ” Prior to air, the names were confirmed by an NTSB official in the agency’s Washington, D.C. office. Despite that confirmation, KTVU realized the names that aired were not accurate and issued an apology later in the newscast.”

    I used to work with a guy whose parents named him Woodrow Wilson Rehling. Despite that, he went by Wood.

  85. 85
    RandomMonster says:

    @Alison: I agree, as a Bay Area resident I don’t think KTVU isn’t a terrible local affiliate, even if it is Fox. What amazes me is that this kind of joke didn’t get caught — everyone here works with asians, knows asians, and I’m sure there are plenty of asians at the TV station…everyone should have caught those as joke names.

  86. 86
    JWL says:

    @NotMax: “Blue”?

    Jeez, just how old are you?

    I freely admit to being an ancient myself, but the term “blue” was outdated even by the time I was born.

    Which was a glorious year, BTW– Ike, Disneyland (and a budding Annette), Sergeant Bilko, and guys running Las Vegas tough enough to be unbothered by nuclear fallout.

  87. 87
    NotMax says:


    Let’s just say that I pre-date that, and leave it there.

    “Blue” may be outmoded, but everyone still seems to know what it implies.

  88. 88
    JWL says:

    @NotMax: Well, Max, I respectfully disagree. I doubt the term is commonly understood nowadays.

    Being an ancient myself, of course, it registered with me.

    But you drop that term on anyone under (at least) the age of 25 and I guarantee you they’re looking at an Alzheimer’s patient.

  89. 89
    Ruckus says:

    @Felonius Monk:

    If common sense was actually so common more people would have some. Maybe there is a Dog and he is just fucking with us. I think Dog would need a laugh after seeing what he’s accomplished, given your mentioned groups.

  90. 90
    Ruckus says:

    @Roger Moore:
    What do you think we are going to chip in and have engraved on your headstone?

  91. 91
    lojasmo says:

    I have literally never known anybody with a funny name.

    We have a couple of beavis and butthead kinds of nurses who constantly make fun of our clents’ funny sounding names.

    Some are pretty funny…we have a lot of folks through the lab.

  92. 92
    rikyrah says:

    they are who we thought they were

  93. 93
    NotMax says:


    Possibly. Anecdotal, but have used it in a group here that meets weekly and sometimes includes some people in their late teens, and they had no problem understanding what was meant whatsoever.

  94. 94
    JWL says:

    @NotMax: Thanks for that.

    It means I’m not as old as I thought I was, even five minutes ago.

    23 skidoo, kiddo!

  95. 95
    JR in WV says:

    Historical peculiar names story. Famous pioneer rancher named Hogg. Wanted sons to maintain his empire, got girls, and named them Ima and Ura.

    In reality, Dad was the TX governor, only one girl, named Ima. Famous.

  96. 96
    Jay C says:


    Or just Uncle Joe….

  97. 97

    One of my parents’ friends was named Rusty Heymann, and of course his last name was pronounced “hymen.”

    “Revenge of the Tiger” by Claude Balz.
    “Picnic Under the Bleachers” by Seymour Butz.
    “The Mystery of the Porous Percales” by I. P. Knightley.

  98. 98
    NotMax says:

    @Mustang Bobby

    Haven’t thought of the name in ages, but now reminded of jazz musician Dick Hyman.

  99. 99
    RSA says:


    I actually think the worst part of the story is that the station tried to blame the NTSB.

    It turns out that the station was telling the truth:

    The National Transportation Safety Board apologizes for inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed as those of the pilots of Asiana flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6.

    Earlier today, in response to an inquiry from a media outlet, a summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft.

    The NTSB does not release or confirm the names of crewmembers or people involved in transportation accidents to the media. We work hard to ensure that only appropriate factual information regarding an investigation is released and deeply regret today’s incident.

    Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated.

  100. 100
    Joseph Nobles says:

    @RSA: The intern’s name? Anita Newjob.

  101. 101
    BGinCHI says:

    Under reported was that the soup of the day on board was Cream of Sum Yung Gy.

    /If you have ever worked in the restaurant biz you have heard this joke.

  102. 102
    Hawes says:

    I taught a Korean kid named Yoo Suk Kim. He preferred Kevin when he was in the States.

  103. 103
    Digital Amish says:

    The main rural arterials around here were named after the pioneer farmers. The Kitchen farm and the Dick farm gave us Kitchen-Dick Rd. If you Google it you’ll probably find a picture of the intersection of Kitchen-Dick and Woodcock.

    True story. (here’s one picture)

  104. 104
    PhoenixRising says:

    @Mnemosyne: Thanks, but I still see immature humor on par with Cliff Diving by Eileen Dover. That’s a pun, not an Irish joke.

    The phenomes of Chinese may have allowed for prank names to get past both the KTVU staff and an NTSB intern, sure.

    The racial angle, if there is one, is that it’s a poor reflection on both parties to not know Chinese from Korean, phonologically. I guess.

  105. 105
    Wally Ballou says:

    Let’s not forget ’70s Cleveland Browns WR Fair Hooker. (Don Meredith on MNF: “I’ve never met one yet.”)

  106. 106
    fuckwit says:

    That’s racist as fuck.

    I can’ t believe that went on the air in SAN FRANCISCO, which has like the first or second biggest Chinatown in the US, and the Bay Area has a huge Asian population. Not cool. What a bunch of douchebags.

    I do have to admit a grudging respect for “Ho Lee Fuk”, though. How they had the balls to get away with that, I have no idea.

    My guess is: interns were to blame.

    I can only hope it was an act of sabotage rather than anyone’s idea of a good idea.

  107. 107
    billy boy says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: pretty lame compared to us here in australia,where we have two members of government,and I mean members! one is called ‘richard cranium’ and one is called ‘richard face,both good friends and one is a prime minister.

  108. 108
    JCT says:

    @fuckwit: Probably unpaid interns.

  109. 109
    wrog says:

    The mathematics literature includes at least one reference to a Cox-Zucker Theorem

  110. 110
    Tehanu says:

    My son went to college with a kid named In Suck Song, and my dad once told me of someone he knew named Richard Wodda, who was listed in the phone book as Wodda Dick.

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