The parents in that viral BBC interview have broken their silence on becoming overnight internet celebrities.
Robert Kelly, a political-science professor specializing in East Asian affairs at Pusan National University in South Korea, was in the middle of an interview with BBC News last week when his 4-year-old daughter, Marion, hopped into her father’s study and was soon followed by her 8-month-old brother, James.
The video, which has been viewed online at least 100 million times so far, has made Kelly and his wife, Kim Jung-A, and their two children into “YouTube stars,” Kelly said.
“I made this minor mistake that turned my family into YouTube stars,” Kelly told The Wall Street Journal in his first interview since the incident. ‘It’s pretty ridiculous.”
Kelly said he had been tied up with interview requests all day after South Korea’s constitutional court upheld the impeachment of President Park Geun Hye when his children crashed his live interview with BBC News.
“I mean, it was terribly cute,” he said. “I saw the video like everybody else. My wife did a great job cleaning up a really unanticipated situation as best she possibly could.”
Kim, who appears in the video as she slips while trying to rush the children out of the room, was watching the live interview with the children in the family’s living room when her daughter walked off and into her father’s unlocked study.
“It was chaos for me,” Kim told The Journal.
She said she was initially worried that the botched interview would ruin her husband’s career and prevent him from making other media appearances. But when BBC asked if it could publish a copy of the clip on its site, Kelly and his wife agreed despite fears that it would draw negative attention to their children.
Minutes after the video aired, Kelly and Kim started receiving thousands of comments, messages, and requests for media appearances. According to Kelly, he turned off his phone’s Wi-Fi while he and his wife figured out how to navigate the newfound attention.
While Kelly blames himself for not locking the door, he and his wife say they never scolded the children for the incident. So far, the video has been viewed 85 million times in a BBC Facebook post and 16 million times in a BBC YouTube post.
“Yes, I was mortified, but I also want my kids to feel comfortable coming to me,” said Kelly, who will appear in a press conference to comment on the incident on Wednesday at Pusan National University.