Two hosts of Telemundo’s morning program, Un Nuevo Día (A New Day), have been suspended for making slant-eye gestures on air while celebrating Germany’s World Cup loss to South Korea, which allowed Mexico to advance.
Telemundo posted a statement on social media Thursday in English and Spanish saying James Tahhan and Janice Bencosme had been placed on indefinite suspension after they were shown using their fingers to stretch their eyes while mocking the South Korean soccer team.
“We are extremely disappointed with our morning show contributors James Tahhan’s and Janice Bencosme’s gestures referring to the South Korean national soccer team,” Telemundo said in a statement. “Our company takes this kind of inappropriate behavior very seriously as it is contrary to our values and standards.”
— NBCU Telemundo Public Relations (@TLMDPR) June 28, 2018
Video of the incident posted on social media showed Tahhan, who is known to viewers as “Chef James,” laughing while making the offensive gesture.
Bencosme laughed along, then made the gesture herself while the rest of the cast chuckled.
Dear @Telemundo @TelemundoSports & @TLMDPR , whoever this guy is on the left needs to get fired ASAP for being a racist on air. If someone were to say or make racist gestures about Latinx folks we'd ALL be up in arms & this is no different #SayNoToRacism #TelemundoMundial pic.twitter.com/SvzSednPAd
— Miguel Hernandez (@Techivist) June 27, 2018
Outraged viewers took to social media to denounce the pair’s behavior, with one person tweeting: “Whoever this guy is on the left needs to get fired ASAP.”
Tahhan and Bencosme later apologized in a video that Telemundo posted online.
The two also issued apologies on social media.