Kobe Bryant has been mourned around the world. Picture: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Kobe Bryant has been mourned around the world. Picture: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

ABC suspends reporter over Kobe mistake

ABC News in the US has suspended Matt Gutman, the chief national correspondent for the network, after he erroneously reported that all of Kobe Bryant's children were involved in the fatal crash that took the basketball great's life and that of his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.

Before Gianna's death was confirmed, Gutman said during a live report that Bryant's other daughters - Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months - were on the helicopter as well.

He later corrected the error and apologised, writing on Twitter, "Today I inaccurately reported it was believed that four of Kobe Bryant's children were on board that flight. That is incorrect. I apologise to Kobe's family, friends and our viewers."

Bryant is survived by wife Vanessa, as well as Natalia, Bianka and Capri.

An ABC News representative confirmed his suspension to The Los Angeles Times, telling the paper, "Reporting the facts accurately is the cornerstone of our journalism. As he acknowledged on Sunday, Matt Gutman's initial reporting was not accurate and failed to meet our editorial standards."

Gutman added: "We are in the business of holding people accountable. And I hold myself accountable for a terrible mistake, which I deeply regret. I want to personally apologise to the Bryant family for this wrenching loss and any additional anguish my report caused."

The ABC rep did not reveal the length of Gutman's suspension.

ABC reporter Matt Gutman got it really wrong.
ABC reporter Matt Gutman got it really wrong.

It came after the Washington Post reinstated a reporter who tweeted historic sexual allegations against Bryant in the wake of his death.

Felicia Sonmez received death threats and was suspended by the newspaper after posting a link to a 2016 article about a case Bryant faced in Colorado.

Managing editor Tracy Grant called the posts "ill-timed", but said they did not break the paper's policies.

The great one in action. Picture: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
The great one in action. Picture: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

"We consistently urge restraint, which is particularly important when there are tragic deaths," her statement read. "We regret having spoken publicly about a personnel matter."

Sonmez herself called on chief editor Marty Baron to explain why the paper handled the issue as it did, and stressed that she had tweeted about "a matter of public record".

Baron wrote an email to Sonmez after the tweets saying she had shown "a real lack of judgement" and  she was "hurting this institution by doing this".



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