Washington DC, 26 March, Aljazeera: A Belgian newspaper apologised Monday following outcry over an image showing US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama with their faces photoshopped to look like apes as Belgian newspaper De Morgen sparks uproar over doctored photo. The image was printed alongside another that implies President Obama sells marijuana.
Photo via Twitter user @chikaunigwe
The images appeared in Flemish newspaper De Morgen’s Saturday edition, in a satire section called “The Obama Herald”. The paper joked that Russian President Vladimir Putin sent in the photos. The controversy comes ahead of an official visit by President Obama to Belgium. He is scheduled to arrive in Brussels Tuesday.
The apology from De Morgen’s editors came in an article entitled, “Is De Morgen Racist?”. They called the image a “tasteless joke”, explaining, “We wrongly assumed that racism is no longer accepted, and that in this way it could be the subject of a joke”.
The international outcry began on Saturday after Nigerian writer Chika Unigwe, who lives in Belgium, tweeted the images.However, some Twitter and Reddit users thought the racism charge was overblown, pointing out that the image was supposed to be satirical.