KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 – A Greek table tennis commentator has been fired for mocking the eyes of South Korean players at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Veteran journalist Dimosthenis Karmiris said Koreans have “narrow eyes” and even wondered “how they can see the ball”.
Karmiris made the faux pas by appearing as a guest on the Greek public channel ERT, The sun reported.
The incident happened on Tuesday when South Korean table tennis athlete Jeoung Young-sik beat Greece’s Panagiotis Gionis.
In his match analysis, Karmiris was asked what he thought of the skills of South Korean table tennis players when he shared his racist views.
“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 proclaimed.
The commentator even waved his hand before laughing live on the air.
Yunan devlet kanalı ERT’nin 36 yıllık spikeri Dimosthenis Karmiris, Panagiotis Gionis’i eleyen Güney Koreli Jeoung Young-sik’e sarf ettiği ırkçı sözlerin ardından emekliliğe adım attı
“Çekik gözleriyle o topun gidip geldiğini nasıl görüyorlar anlamıyorum”pic.twitter.com/HTLNw3Ct6W
– Sargın Tekşal (@sarginteksal) July 28, 2021
In a Twitter clip, Karmiris’ gaffe received 94,700 views with numerous comments blaming the commentator for his racist remarks.
“The Tokyo Olympics are quickly turning into a *** cluster for the Greek public broadcaster,” one person replied.
Another added: “It is 2021 and this is how a Greek public television presenter comments on Asian table tennis players.”
How do people like Dimosthenis Karmiris get this far as a professional commentator? https://t.co/43SJfn0eOn
– Sharon (馮明 晞） (@sharonmhfung) July 29, 2021
Hours after the Karmiris segment aired, ERT issued a statement saying, “Racist comments have no place on public television.
“The collaboration between ERT and Dimosthenis Karmiris ended today, immediately after the morning show.”
Jeoung defeated Gionis 7-11, 11-7, 8-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-6, 14-12.
The 29-year-old table tennis champion is one of six South Korean table tennis players at Tokyo 2020.
Karmiris previously angered viewers for saying that Greek shooter Anna Korakaki “screwed it up” at the Tokyo Olympics when she placed sixth in the air rifle final at 10 m, according to the Greek information portal Keep Talking Greece.
He later apologized, saying he had no intention of upsetting Korakaki and his family.
The disgraced commentator is not the first to fall in the soup for making sideways comments on Olympic history.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Spanish basketball team was criticized for slit-eyed gestures in a publicity photo.
In its apology, the Spanish basketball team said the pose was meant to be funny and could be interpreted as a loving gesture.