Robert Kelly, an expert on East Asian affairs and a professor at South Korea’s Pusan National University, his wife Kim Jung-A, daughter Marion and toddler son James attend a press conference at the university in Busan on March 15, 2017. (YELIM LEE/AFP/Getty Images)
The man at the centre of a viral BBC interview who was unceremoniously interrupted by his children live on air said on Wednesday he was flattered by the many “gentle sentiments” his family had received after millions watched the video online.
Robert Kelly, an American associate professor at Pusan National University in South Korea, had been speaking to the BBC via Skype about the impeachment of president Park Geun-hye, when his daughter marched confidently into his home office.
His nine-month-old son, James, slipped in shortly afterwards in a baby walker, followed by his wife, Kim Jung-a, who dramatically chased and expertly extracted both children as Kelly tried to maintain his on-camera composure.
“We are just a regular family and raising two young children can be a lot of work,” Kelly said during a news conference at the university. “We love our children very much, and we are happy that our family blooper – our family error on television – brought so much laughter to so many people.”
Kelly’s four-year-old daughter, Marion, who captured the internet’s attention with her bright yellow top and confident swagger, sat beside Kelly during the news conference. Kim held baby James on her lap.
In a follow-up interview with the BBC on Wednesday, Kelly said he could see a mirror image of the room on his video screen as Marion walked through the door behind him.
“I was hoping that maybe my daughter might sit down and read a book or something, even for thirty seconds until we could just cut the interview, but once my son came in on the little roller, then it was sort of… then there was nothing I could do,” Kelly told the BBC.
The video was widely shared on social media, with the majority of comments expressing amusement over the incident. One version of the video on a BBC Facebook page had over 86 million views as of Wednesday.
Kelly, who is an expert on North and South Korea and makes regular international media appearances, said he hoped the light-heartedness of the video would not harm him professionally.
“I’m BBC Dad for a while so, I hope that people will still read my work,” he said.
“If we’re still talking about this in six months, then I’ll be quite uncomfortable.”