ABC News has suspended Matt Gutman, its chief national correspondent, for erroneously reporting on Sunday that all four of Kobe Bryant's children were with him during the helicopter crashed that killed the former NBA star and eight other people in Calabasas, Calif.
Only one of Bryant's daughters, Gianna, 13, was with Bryant on the aircarft. The two were traveling to a basketball tournament at Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
ABC confirmed Gutman's suspension in a Wednesday statement issued to the Los Angeles Times, but did not specify its length.
“Reporting the facts accurately is the cornerstone of our journalism,” an ABC News representative told the Times. “As he acknowledged on Sunday, Matt Gutman’s initial reporting was not accurate and failed to meet our editorial standards.”
Here's what ABC reporter Matt Gutman is reporting about the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash and his daughters:
"...and the fact that 4 of his children are believed to be on that helicopter with him...." pic.twitter.com/6ETCqw21Aj
— Rob Lopez (@r0bato) January 26, 2020
Gutman also issued a statement to the Times, saying, "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.”
Gutman on Sunday corrected his initial report, apologizing as he did so.
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. pic.twitter.com/yYwuB9vpZl
— Matt Gutman (@mattgutmanABC) January 27, 2020
His was not the only reporting misstep around Bryant's death Sunday. TMZ, which broke the news, issued its initial report before Bryant's immediate family had been notified of his death. BBC aired footage of LeBron James in a report of Bryant's death. There were also several outlets that inaccurately reported Rick Fox, Bryant's teammate from 1997 to 2004, was on the helicopter when it crashed.