NBC is facing criticism from viewers and TV critics for its handling of a post-race interview with U.S. skier Bode Miller on Sunday night.
Miller was driven to tears after persistent questioning about his dead brother, Chilly, from NBC’s Christin Cooper. Chilly died of a seizure last April.
Miller first brought up his brother in the interview, saying the bronze medal in Sochi was “different” because of the tough year he has had. But Cooper asked two additional questions when Miller was visibility struggling to keep himself together and couldn’t give coherent answers.
Critics say NBC deliberately set out to make him cry.
Here’s the transcript (watch the full interview here):
NBC: For a guy who says that medals don’t really matter, that they aren’t the thing, you’ve amassed quite a collection. What does this one mean to you in terms of all the others.
Miller: This was a little different. You know with my brother passing away, I really wanted to come back here and race the way he sensed it. This one is different.
NBC: Bode, you’re showing so much emotion down here, what’s going through your mind?
Miller: [pause] Um, I mean, a lot. Obviously just a long struggle coming in here. And … it’s just a tough year.
NBC: I know you wanted to be here with Chilly, really experiencing these games. How much does this mean to you to come up with this great performance for him? And was it for him?
Miller: I mean, I don’t know if it’s really for him but I wanted to come here and … I don’t know, I guess make myself proud, but…
NBC: When you’re looking up in the sky at the start, we see you there and it just looks like you’re talking to somebody. What’s going on there?
Miller: [breaks down crying]
Miller went on Twitter and defended Cooper after it aired:
My emotions were very raw, she asked the questions that every interviewer would have, pushing is part of it, she wasnt trying to cause pain.
— Bode Miller (@MillerBode) February 17, 2014
The interview was aired on a 20-hour tape delay.
Again, Miller brought up his brother before Cooper did, so a follow-up question or two there is fair.
But things did get uncomfortable after that, and lines like “when you’re looking up in the sky at the start, we see you there and it just looks like you’re talking to somebody” felt over the top.
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