Fired KTVU producer: "My hard-earned reputation is intack"

Three producers were let go from the station after airing an offensive segment about Asiana flight 214

By Prachi Gupta
Published July 26, 2013 5:23PM (EDT)

KTVU, the Oakland Fox affiliate station that reported four fake, racially insensitive names for pilots of Asiana flight 214 on a July 12 broadcast, has responded to the embarrassing gaffe by firing three veteran producers after an in-house investigation.

Amid the fiasco, ousted producer Roland De Wolk attempted to defend his reputation to The Wrap when reached via email. Unfortunately for him, his defense was undermined by misspellings that TheWrap presumed "unintentional":

"My hard-earned reputation is intack. There are lawyers, so eager as I am to anser all questions, I must refrain."

More damaging for De Wolk, though, is a report from SF Weekly that challenged the supposed "intackness" of De Wolk's reputation, instead calling it "somewhat checkered."

De Wolk "was allegedly involved in another news dust-up that was less damaging than the Asiana name mess, since KTVU managed to keep it out of the news," reported SF Weekly, citing a prior "journalistic mishap" in which De Wolk was meant to interview Micah Lee, a technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in a segment about "doxing," that was purportedly edited instead to be about "swatting":

But when the interview aired, Lee says he was shocked to see the story itself had nothing to do with doxing; it was about a different prank called "swatting," which happens when someone calls 911 to report a hostage situation or terrorist threat at someone else's house, to get a SWAT team to bust down the door.

Lee says had never heard of swatting until he watched the segment -- and he wouldn't have even watched the segment, had someone not tweeted at him the night it aired, asking if he really thought "swatting" should be protected by free speech laws. It turned out De Wolk had slotted the dox interview into the swatting segment, using Lee's quotes to make it look as though the Electronic Frontier Foundation had taken a public stance on the issue. It even appeared as though Lee opposed new legislation to curb swatting.

KTVU general manager and vice president Tom Raponi would not comment on the firings.

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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