BBC dad and family break silence on viral interview: "We laughed a lot"

Last Updated Mar 15, 2017 7:28 AM EDT

It was a video that “broke” the internet last week -- a man being interviewed on live television, interrupted by his two energetic children.

On Tuesday, the interviewee, Robert E. Kelly, spoke out about the hilarious mishap, alongside his wife and two children; the surprise guests who “videobombed” his interview on BBC World News.


Robert E. Kelly, sitting next to his family, talks about his interview that went viral on BBC News last week after his children stormed into the room unannounced.

BBC News

Kelly, a professor of political science in South Korea, was appearing via webcam to discuss the ouster of impeached South Korean President Park Geun-hye when, suddenly, his young daughter Marion swung open the door and marched up beside him. Not too far behind, her baby brother James rolled into the room in a bouncer, followed by Kelly’s frantic wife, Jung-a Kim.

The scene went viral, with more than 21 million views after BBC News posted the video on its Facebook page with the caption, “When live TV goes wrong... This BBC guest’s children become the stars of the show.”

The post was shared by nearly 240,000 people and received more than 43,000 comments, most of which thanked the news network and the Kelly family for a good laugh.

In an exclusive interview with BBC News on Monday, Kelly admitted that he, too, had enjoyed a good laugh watching the video on repeat.

“We watched it multiple times, too, and our families have watched it as well,” Kelly admitted. “Everybody we know seems to think it’s pretty hysterical.”

Kelly’s wife, who had a major role in the video; scrambling across the room, trying to retrieve the children so Kelly could finish his interview in peace, also took it in stride.

“Oh yeah, we just laughed. We laughed a lot,” she said.

Kelly confessed they were “a little worried” that the unexpected interruption might jeopardize their relationship with the network.

“We were worried that BBC would never call us again,” Kelly said.

While the video brought joy to viewers all over the world, it also prompted a backlash, as some internet users criticized Kelly’s parenting and others found fault with commenters who assumed Jung-a Kim was a “nanny.”

In a statement released Wednesday, Kelly responded to some of the criticism, defending his and his wife’s parenting and making it clear that, in spite of speculation, “I was wearing pants. I choose not to stand, because I was trying to salvage the interview.”

Some internet commentors had suggested the kids were dealt with too harshly, but Kelly defended both himself and his wife’s actions.

“It is quite apparent from the video that she is frantically trying to salvage the professionalism of the interview. The children were not injured. When Marion speaks in the clip, she says, in Korean, ‘why Mom?’ She is responding in surprise, because we normally do not treat out children this way. Marion’s willingness to comfortably traipse into my home office illustrates her usual ease with her parents,” he said. 

Kim told BBC she hopes people will stop arguing about the video.

“So, I hope people just enjoy it, not argue over this thing,” she said. “I’m not the nanny. That’s not true.”

Kelly hoped people would simply enjoy it for what it is: just a video “catching a regular family off-guard.”