ABC News has suspended chief national correspondent Matt Gutman over a false report claiming that all of Kobe Bryant’s children were on board the helicopter that crashed and killed the NBA All-Star.
Bryant died on Jan. 26 while traveling by private helicopter over Calabasas, a city located 30 miles northwest of downtown L.A. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Maria Onore, also was on board and died in the crash, as did seven other passengers — none of whom were related to Bryant. But during a breaking-news report, before Gianna’s death was confirmed, Gutman stated that all four of Bryant’s daughters — including 17-year-old Natalia, 3-year-old Bianca and 7-month-old Capri — had died in the accident.
Later that day, Gutman addressed the falsehood and issued the following apology:
On Wednesday, ABC News confirmed that it had suspended Gutman. “Reporting the facts accurately is the cornerstone of our journalism,” a representative said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “As he acknowledged on Sunday, Matt Gutman’s initial reporting was not accurate and failed to meet our editorial standards.”
Gutman also released a new statement in the wake of his suspension:
“We are in the business of holding people accountable,” he said. “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 has been an ABC News correspondent since 2008. He has made regular appearances on ABC World News Tonight With David Muir, as well as the primetime newsmagazine 20/20. The length of his suspension has not been disclosed.