Instructional site wikiHow has come under fire for showing a cartoon of a white-washed former President Barack Obama, Beyonce and Jay-Z in their tutorial on “how to become a Congressman.”
The site, known for its illustrated guides, turned the three famous African Americans into Caucasian versions of themselves.
The controversy started when a Beyonce-fan Twitter account noticed the drawing and tweeted about it on Jan. 22:
” Wikihow turned Obama, Beyonce, and Jay Z white to explain ‘How to become a congressman.'”
The bizarre drawing was interpreted from an actual picture in which the former president and two musicians were conversing with each other at a 2012 fundraising event.
Metro reports wikiHow has now apologized for the illustration and says it immediately removed the image after finding out about it.
“When we saw the whitewashed image of Obama, Jay Z & Beyonce, we were disgusted & ashamed. It never should have been on wikiHow,” they tweeted on Jan. 24.
The website said the snafu was the result of the colorist not being told by the artist what race the people in the cartoon were supposed to be, according to Vulture. Following the incident, wikiHow has promised to have more diverse representation in the future.
The website states:
Within minutes of the first tweet, a volunteer removed the image. We then started investigating how it got on wikiHow at all.
We learned it was made three years ago by a team of illustrators who work as one. One person sketches, the other person [colors]. The sketcher sent the [colorist] a black and white sketch.
The [colorist] wasn’t aware it was Obama and Beyonce. We don’t think the illustrator intentionally whitewashed here.
This doesn’t excuse the fact that we hosted a terrible image on wikiHow and we needed more diversity on that article period.
We’re talking with our illustrators to prevent recurrence and encourage diversity. Especially in positions of power.”
However, Beyonce’s fans don’t believe wikiHow’s claim that the illustration was an unintentional mistake.
“Someone explain to me why the ‘sketcher’ changed Obama’s hair and how the “colorist” knew to color Beyonce’s dress red & her hair blonde,” tweeted the Beyonce fan who first noticed the illustration.
Sources: Vulture, Metro / Photo credit: wikiHow via Vulture