ABC News suspended a correspondent after he falsely claimed on-air that all four of NBA star Kobe Bryant’s children were in the helicopter that crashed Sunday.
Matt Gutman, the chief national correspondent for ABC News, said during a live segment Sunday that “four of his [Bryant’s] children are believed to be on that helicopter with him.” One of Bryant’s daughters, 13-year-old Gianna, died in the crash. Gutman apologized for the false report on-air Sunday evening as well as on Twitter, before his suspension.
“Reporting the facts accurately is the cornerstone of our journalism,” an ABC News representative told the LA Times. “As he acknowledged on Sunday, Matt Gutman’s initial reporting was not accurate and failed to meet our editorial standards.”
ABC News’ @mattgutmanABC reported on air that four of Kobe Bryant’s children were also on the helicopter while other ABC affiliates are now reporting the complete opposite.
This is AWFUL reporting and I can’t imagine what the false news did to those close to the Bryants. pic.twitter.com/qAmHkA4M0f
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) January 26, 2020
Gutman apologized again in a statement to the LA Times, saying that he holds himself “accountable for a terrible mistake.” All nine people on board the helicopter died.
“We are in the business of holding people accountable,” Gutman said. “And I hold myself accountable for a terrible mistake, which I deeply regret. I want to personally apologize to the Bryant family for this wrenching loss and any additional anguish my report caused.”
Today I inaccurately reported it was believed that four of Kobe Bryant’s children were on board that flight. That is incorrect. I apologize to Kobe’s family, friends and our viewers. pic.twitter.com/yYwuB9vpZl
— Matt Gutman (@mattgutmanABC) January 27, 2020
It is not clear how long Gutman’s suspension will last. ABC News did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller.
The Washington Post suspended a reporter amid Bryant’s death, as well. The paper reinstated reporter Felicia Sonmez on Wednesday, who had been suspended after she tweeted about Bryant’s rape case in the hours following his death. Sonmez has demanded WaPo’s top editor answer for the suspension. (RELATED: WaPo Reporter Responsible For Kobe Bryant Tweets Speak Out, Condemns Paper For Suspension)