The president of Kobe Inc. has issued her first statement surrounding inaccurate early reports following Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s deaths.
“We are disappointed in some media’s broad use of unnamed sources and blind quotes, and remind everyone that the Bryant family will speak on our own behalf when appropriate,” Molly Carter said in a statement issued to the Los Angeles Times.
Several misleading reports were circulated in the hours that followed Sunday’s (Jan. 26) fatal helicopter crash, including articles that claimed all four of Kobe’s daughters had been killed.
“To this point, no one has been authorized to speak on behalf of the family regarding any personal details surrounding Sunday’s tragedy, including stories related to the family’s previous air travel decisions,” Carter continued. “We ask members of the media for respect and responsible judgment during this difficult time. These inaccurate reports only add unnecessary pain to a grieving family.”
False reports about the helicopter’s passengers first came from ABC News chief national correspondent Matt Gutman, who has since been suspended from work for an undisclosed amount of time.
“Reporting the facts accurately is the cornerstone of our journalism,” an ABC News spokesperson said in a statement issued to CNN. “As he acknowledged on Sunday, Matt Gutman’s initial reporting was not accurate and failed to meet our editorial standards.”
Gutman apologized for his error later on Sunday (Jan. 26) and again in a statement issued to CNN on Wednesday (Jan. 29).
“We are in the business of holding people accountable. And I hold myself accountable for a terrible mistake, which I deeply regret,” he said. “I want to personally apologize to the Bryant family for this wrenching loss and any additional anguish my report caused.”
On Thursday, Vanessa Bryant issued her first statement via Instagram.
“My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time,” she wrote. “Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.”
The cause of the tragic helicopter crash is still under investigation.