KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 ― A Greek table tennis commentator has been fired for mocking South Korean players’ eyes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Veteran journalist Dimosthenis Karmiris said that Koreans have “narrow eyes” and even wondered “how they can see the ball”.
Karmiris made the faux pas while appearing as a guest on the Greek state channel ERT, The Sun reported.
The incident took place on Tuesday when South Korean table tennis athlete Jeoung Young-sik defeated 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.
“The 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 made hand gestures before laughing live on 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— Sargın Tekşal (@sarginteksal) July 28, 2021
"Çekik gözleriyle o topun gidip geldiğini nasıl görüyorlar anlamıyorum"pic.twitter.com/HTLNw3Ct6W
In one Twitter clip, Karmiris’ gaffe received 94,700 views with many comments slamming the commentator for his racist remarks.
“The Tokyo Olympics are rapidly turning into a clusterf*** for the Greek state broadcaster,” one person responded.
Another added, “It’s 2021 and this is how a presenter on Greek state television comments on Asian table tennis players.”
How do people like Dimosthenis Karmiris make it this far as a professional commenter? https://t.co/43SJfn0eOn— Sharon (馮明晞） (@sharonmhfung) July 29, 2021
Hours after Karmiris’ segment was aired, ERT issued a statement saying, “Racist comments have no place on public television.”
“The collaboration between ERT and Dimosthenis Karmiris was terminated today, immediately after the morning show.”
Jeoung beat 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 Greek shooter Anna Korakaki “screwed it up” at the Tokyo Olympics when she was placed sixth in the 10m air rifle finals, Greek news portal Keep Talking Greece.
He later apologised, saying he didn’t intend to upset Korakaki and her family.
The disgraced commentator isn’t the first to land in the soup for making slanty eye comments in Olympic history.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Spain’s basketball team came under fire for slit-eyed gestures in a publicity photo.
In their apology, the Spanish basketball squad said the pose was meant to be funny and could be interpreted as an affectionate gesture.