A Greek sports presenter has been fired after making a racist comment about a South Korean table tennis player during the Olympics.
Journalist Dimosthenis Karmiris was taken off air after he shocked viewers by making a blatantly racist remark live on-air while presenting coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics for Greek state broadcaster ERT.
The controversy came after Greek table tennis player Panagiotis Gionis was defeated by South Korean player Jeoung Young-sik in a close fought 4-3 contest. While discussing the match, Karmiris was asked for his opinion on Jeoung’s skills, but rather than giving proper analysis, the veteran broadcaster instead chose to make an offensive joke about the South Korean player, replying ‘The South Koreans don’t play table tennis; their eyes are narrow so I can’t understand how they can see the ball moving back and forth.’
Karmiris and his fellow presenter clearly found the joke hilarious, but the journalist’s words immediately caused a huge outcry in Greece, with people taking to social media to share the clip and express their outrage.
‘It’s 2021 and this is how a presenter on Greek state broadcaster ERT comments on Asian table tennis players,’ freelance journalist Damian Mac Con Uladh wrote alongside a video of the incident.
“As their eyes are slitty, how can they watch the ball coming and going.”
— Damian Mac Con Uladh (@damomac) July 27, 2021
‘Absolutely ridiculous, and then we wonder where the systemic racism comes from,’ another person wrote.
Others criticised Karmiris’ co-presenter for failing to call him out, with one person tweeting, ‘The other idiot that laughed? Disgusting. We accept this BS as a society.’
Shortly following the incident, ERT released a statement condemning the remark and confirming Karmiris had been sacked by the network, saying ‘racist comments have no place on public television. The collaboration between ERT and Dimosthenis Karmiris was terminated today, immediately after the morning show.’