Professor Chaos

March 15, 2017

Picture: CABLE NEWS NETWORK

The professor whose live BBC interview was interrupted with a visit by his two young children has spoken out, describing what happened as “a comedy of errors”.

A BBC reported today that Korea expert Robert Kelly told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) his wife, Jung-a Kim, had been watching his interview on television, filming it on her phone.

Focused on the interview, she didn’t notice four-year-old Marion had gone into the room where her dad was talking on live television about the ousting of South Korea’s president, Park Geun-hye.

Marion, who had been celebrating her birthday at kindergarten that day, danced up to her dad who tried to keep a straight face as he fielded questions.

“She was in a hippity-hoppity mood that day because of the school party,” Professor Kelly told the WSJ.

Moments after Marion, eight-month old James appeared at the door and rolled into the room on his walker.

Ms Kim had only noticed the children had left her side when she saw them on the television.

She too burst into the room and managed to drag the kids out of the room.

Ms Kim said the door was usually locked — not this time.

“And then I saw the door was open,” she said. “It was chaos for me.”

It was a scene that made millions laugh and a situation that for many families is all too relatable. 00:46 – 00:54

VIDEO: Professor Robert Kelly’s Skype TV interview is interrupted y toddlers (ABC News)

In the moments after the interview, Professor Kelly and his wife told the BBC they were “mortified” about what happened and feared the little mishap had ruined Professor Kelly’s continuing relationship with the network.

But after watching the clip, Professor Kelly said they could see the funny side of the situation.

“I mean it was terribly cute,” Professor Kelly told the WSJ.

“I saw the video like everybody else. My wife did a great job cleaning up a really unanticipated situation as best she possibly could.”

After the cheeky interruption, the video of the interview spread like wildfire on the internet — amassing millions of views online and becoming the subject of countless memes and opinion columns around the world.

The family have become an internet sensation — something Professor Kelly said was “a little bit stressful but we are trying to handle it”.

“Since Friday night we’ve been fairly relentlessly solicited on social media by phone and by email,” he told BBC News.

“We turned off our phones or put them on airplane mode for a while.”

Many people who saw the video and commented on it thought Ms Kim was the family’s nanny.

It was an assumption that became the focal point of many opinion articles analysing the racial undertones of such a speculation.

But Ms Kim told BBC News she did not want that to be what people took away from watching the video.

“We did not argue about any of those [things]. I just hope people enjoy it and not argue about this thing,” she said.

“Yeah, we were pretty uncomfortable about it,” Professor Kelly agreed.

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