July 8, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times Apologizes For 'FRIGHT 214' Headline's Accidental Racism


The Chicago Sun-Times has prepared a mea culpa following a bit of accidental racism in a headline for a story about the recent San Francisco plane crash.

Saturday's horrific San Francisco plane crash resulted in the deaths of at least two people with several more injured. With 291 people on board and the relative violence of the impact, many experts agreed that airline Asiana ought to consider itself lucky.

The crash has had its share of heroic stories, as well. Flight attendant Lee Yoon-hye has been credited for her heroism in helping to extinguish the flames on the airplane and help weary passengers escape.

With everything in the media about the San Francisco plane crash, it's hard to escape various notes and details about the airline's ethnic home as well as the heritage of its employees. That's probably why the Chicago Sun-Times's headline was so cringe-worthy:

"FRIGHT 214." Ouch.

We see what they're trying to say, and you probably do too. The crash resulted in minimal casualties, pretty much just spooking most of the flight's passengers and crew. Falling out of the sky, crash landing, and then finding out that you somehow survived, and then finding out that you still have to escape the plane before it blows up ... yeah, that's a "fright."

But then there's that whole racist thing about replacing "l's" with "r's" for various Asian accents, and you have a case of what Brad Paisley calls "accidental racism."

It prompted the Sun-Times to print the following apology:

"There was nothing intentional on our part to play off any stereotypes. … If anybody was offended by that, we are sorry. We were trying to convey the obviously frightening situation of that landing."
We get it, Sun-Times. Try to be a little more careful with your headlines in the future!