ABC Suspends a Reporter for Making Assumptions About Kobe Bryant's Death

Posted: Jan 30, 2020 6:20 AM
ABC Suspends a Reporter for Making Assumptions About Kobe Bryant's Death

Source: Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File

When former NBA player Kobe Bryant's helicopter crashed over the weekend, people in the media were quick to jump to conclusions about who was in the plane. In fact, Matt Gutman, the chief national correspondent at ABC News, immediately reported that all four of Bryant's kids died in the crash. It turned out that all nine people on board the helicopter died, including Byrant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. 

Once it was revealed that only Gianna was on board, Gutman took to Twitter to apologize for his Incorrect reporting. 

"Earlier I reported that it was believed that four of Kobe Bryant’s children were on that flight. That is incorrect," he said on air. "Unfortunately, this is a horrible tragedy and one of his daughters was on the helicopter at the time."

"Obviously they're still working the investigation. The NTSB is coming. The FAA is already on scene," he explained. "The coroner is going to make the final determination of who exactly was on that plane. But again, I apologize for those remarks earlier about Kobe's family on that helicopter."

Gutman was suspended for speculating about Bryant's family, NBC News reported. 

"Reporting the facts accurately is the cornerstone of our journalism," an ABC News spokesperson 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 said made "a terrible mistake" that he "deeply regret[s]."

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

Gutman is an award-winning journalist who has worked for the network since 2008. He has frequently covered breaking news events, such as mass shootings and natural disasters. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, the network suspended another reporter, Brian Ross, in 2017 for an incorrect story that claimed "President Trump had directed his national security advisor Michael Flynn to contact Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign."

Gutman wasn't the only reporter who was suspended over their reporting on this situation. In fact, Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez was suspended for tweeting about rape allegations that were previously made against Bryant.