ABC News suspended its reporter who inaccurately suggested Sunday that all four of Kobe Bryant’s children were on the helicopter that crashed and killed the NBA legend and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
The Disney network’s chief national correspondent Matt Gutman said amid the breaking news Sunday that Bryant’s daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, seven months, were “believed” to have been involved in the deadly accident.
“You know, we grew up with Kobe, and the fact that four of his children are believed to be on board that helicopter with him, all daughters, one of them a newborn, is simply devastating,” Gutman said.
That reporting was quickly refuted by local news affiliates and TMZ. Gutman issued a correction and an apology later in the day.
“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,” Gutman stated.
ABC News told The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday that it had suspended Gutman for the error.
“Reporting the facts accurately is the cornerstone of our journalism,” a spokesperson for ABC News told the Times. “As he acknowledged on Sunday, Matt Gutman’s initial reporting was not accurate and failed to meet our editorial standards.”
Gutman told the Times, “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 apologize to the Bryant family for this wrenching loss and any additional anguish my report caused.”