Website offers lengthy apology when photo of Beyonce, Jay Z and Obama is ‘mistakenly’ whitewashed

A how-to website apologized this week for using an illustration that bizarrely turned rapper Jay-Z, his wife pop star Beyonce, and Barack Obama into white people.

The site WikiHow used the drawing based on a 2012 photo of the three meeting at a New York fundraiser in an article about how to become a Congressman, the Daily Mail reported.

The website commonly uses drawings instead of actual photographs for its step-by-step explanations of how to do things but had to apologize for using the image after website visitors began to compare the photo from life of Jay-Z and Beyonce meeting Obama.

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The drawing had been featured on the article since 2014 but was only recently noticed causing a ruckus on Twitter.

The website said that it didn’t think its illustrator “intentionally whitewashed” the three African Americans thereby turning them into white people for the article.

The website also explained that in part its own system of illustration was to blame for the mistake. As the site explained, one artist will create the black and white line drawings while another will add the color to the illustrations. In this case, the site continued, the colorist was unaware of the race of the individuals in the drawing and was unaware of the photo upon which the line drawing was based.

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“The colorist wasn’t aware it was Obama and Beyoncé. We don’t think the illustrator intentionally whitewashed here,” WikiHow explained.

“This doesn’t excuse the fact that we hosted a terrible image on WikiHow and we needed more diversity on that article period,” the site continued in its apology message.

“We’re talking with our illustrators to prevent recurrence and encourage diversity. Especially in positions of power,” the website insisted.


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