Two hosts on the Spanish-language television station Telemundo have been suspended indefinitely after celebrating South Korea’s World Cup win over Germany with racist gestures, BBC reports.
South Korea’s 2-0 victory put Mexico through to the knockout stage, which sent the country’s fans into a frenzy. But it also created a huge backlash after two hosts of a Telemundo program celebrated the news by pulling their eyes back with their fingers to make them look slanted. The same gesture was posted to Twitter by a number of Mexico fans in an attempt to thank South Korea.
Many on social media quickly condemned the act as racist and Telemundo, which is affiliated with NBC, quickly placed presenters James Tahhan and Janice Bencosme on indefinite suspension.
“Our company takes this type of inappropriate behaviur very seriously as it is contrary to our values and standards,” network officials said in a statement.
Tahhan also apologized on Twitter, saying he had “made an inappropriate and insensitive gesture towards the Asian community” and that he “wanted to apologize to anyone who was offended by it.”
While it’s been pointed out that the gesture was made out of respect and not intended to offend, many in the Twittersphere argued that a network like Telemundo, which is itself aimed at a minority community that is subject to racism, should be more sensitive to other minorities.