LOS ANGELES (THE GUARDIAN) - A pair of US-based television hosts were indefinitely suspended on Thursday (June 28) after using racist 'slant-eye' gestures during a live broadcast in the aftermath of South Korea's 2-0 victory over Germany on Wednesday that ensured Mexico's passage into the knockout stage of the World Cup.
James Tahhan and Janice Bencosme, co-presenters of Telemundo's morning show Un Nuevo Dia, could be seen using their fingers to narrow their eyes amid the on-set celebration of the Asian country's improbable 2-0 win over the defending world champions.
The immediate outcry from viewers only redoubled as footage of the gesture spread on social media, prompting Telemundo, the Miami-based Spanish language network which is part of NBC Universal, to take action on Thursday.
"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," reads a statement from Telemundo.
"Our company takes this kind of inappropriate behaviour very seriously as it is contrary to our values and standards."
Tahhan, known as Chef James, issued a statement on Twitter in both English and Spanish and offered an apology for a "lack of sensitivity on my part".
He added: "I admit that I did something wrong and wanted to apologise to anyone who was offended by it."
The Taegeuk Warriors' upset of Germany prompted wild celebrations among supporters back in Mexico City, where hundreds of fans descended on the South Korean embassy and hoisted consul general Han Bjoung-yin onto their shoulders amid wild celebratory chants.
Last week, Mexico's football federation was fined US$10,000 (S$13,621) for "discriminatory and offensive" homophobic chants during their opening win against Germany.