Microsoft regrets racist photo edit and meme creation

08:18 by Editor · 0 Post a comment on AAWR

The above images both graced Micrsoft websites this week. The top picture, which appears on the company's Seattle-based website, features a black man. But on the company's Polish site, a white man's head was superimposed into the shot. Whoever massacred the image didn't have time to deal with issues of consistency — he left the original man's hand unchanged in the Polish version.

A reader pointed out the discrepancy to TechCrunch, and Microsoft has since apologized. The company isn't naming names on who was responsible for the mistake, but they have since returned the image to its original state on the Polish website. Too bad for them it's already become a meme.

Microsoft is embarrassed by the blunder. On its Twitter feed, the company wrote: "Marketing site photo mistake — sincere apologies — we are in the process of taking down the image."

Microsoft has an executive statement on its commitment to diversity and promises to, "promote and integrate diversity and inclusion at every level within our organization and in everything we do."

There are plenty of funny things about the poorly altered image. The logo on the laptop in the photo, which clearly looks like an Apple product, was wiped out of the shot. And the original message over the image said the following: "Empower your people with the IT skills they need."

Meanwhile, since the image discrepancy was discovered, it has become a meme on TechCrunch. The site has started a contest to insert other images into the scene, among them are images of Darth Vader, Ronald Reagan, and a weird rodent.

This misjudgment was obviously made by accident, but it gets to another point. Ethnic marketing is tricky when done purposefully. It's a disaster when done in haste. My colleague Patricio Robles recently wrote about the issue here.

Microsoft is being called out is because the demographic change they made was done so poorly. But this sort of thing happens all the time.

In America, it's often the reverse — inserting individuals from different ethnicities to promote a company or brand's commitment to diversity. It always rings hollow when the images don't reflect reality, but at least when companies attempt to make themselves look better it shows that they care about the issue of diversity. continues here

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