ABC News suspends reporter after inaccurate statement on Kobe Bryant crash
ABC News on Wednesday suspended correspondent Matt Gutman after he erroneously reported on Sunday that all four of Kobe Bryant’s daughters were on the helicopter that crashed, killing nine people.
Later reports confirmed the legendary NBA player was on board, along with one of his daughters, Gianna Marie, 13.
“Reporting the facts accurately is the cornerstone of our journalism,” ABC said in a statement to E! News. “As he acknowledged on Sunday, Matt Gutman’s initial reporting was not accurate and failed to meet our editorial standards.”
Gutman, ABC’s chief national correspondent, apologized for the mistake Sunday as he faced severe backlash on social media.
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
He also offered an apology in a statement provided to E! News.
“We are in the business of holding people accountable,” he said. “And I hold myself accountable for a terrible mistake, which I deeply regret.”
Gutman began his career with ABC News in 2006 at ABC News Radio.
The length of the suspension has not been made public. The Hill has reached out to ABC News for comment.
Public funeral arrangements are still being planned for Bryant and may include a public memorial at the L.A. Coliseum, according to a TMZ report.
The venue seats almost 80,000 for football games. Bryant played for the Lakers at the Staples Center, but organizers believe the venue, which holds up to 20,000, didn’t have close to the seating capacity needed, per TMZ.