Delta shared this image representing Ghana with a giraffe â€“ despite the fact that the animals do not live there
Delta Airlines has been accused of â€œracismâ€ and forced to apologise after a tweet it posted about the World Cup portrayed Ghana with a picture of a giraffe â€“ despite the fact that there are no giraffes in Ghana.
The tweet congratulated the US football team for its 2 â€“ 1 victory over the African nation last night, and the airlineâ€™s social media team clearly wanted to represent this with a striking image.
The Statue of Liberty was understandably chosen to stand for the US but, in a choice described as â€œracial stereotypingâ€ by one football writer, the airline displayed a distinct lack of local knowledge by using a picture of the long-necked animal to represent Ghana.
Large swathes of Africa are giraffe-free â€“ including Ghana and the majority of its West African neighbours. Twitter user Tom Chaplin wrote: â€œWhat do giraffes have to do with Ghana?â€
Another (@demimoiselle) said the tweet showed Delta thought that â€œGhana = Africa = giraffeâ€, and a New Jersey-based blogger (@zellieimani) described it as the â€œmost ignorant and racist thing this weekâ€.
Others came to the airlineâ€™s defence, however, describing the incident as â€œignoranceâ€ not â€œracismâ€. Brian Hennigan tweeted: â€œBeing racist and not knowing where giraffes live are two different things, leave Delta alone.â€
A screenshot of the Delta tweet captured before it was deleted
But Andy Cussen, an Australian football writer covering the World Cup, said: â€œIt's racial stereotyping which is a form of racism. Sorry if people are offended by people being offended.â€
The original tweet has since been removed by Delta, and replaced with an apology reading: â€œWeâ€™re sorry for our choice of photo in our previous tweet. Best of luck to all teams.â€
The airline has since told The Independent that it will be â€œreviewingâ€ its use of social media in the wake of the incident. A spokesperson said the use of an image of a giraffe to represent Ghana was â€œboth inaccurate and inappropriateâ€.
We're sorry for our choice of photo in our previous tweet. Best of luck to all teams.
â€œAs a global airline, we understand the role images play in shaping global perceptions,â€ the spokesperson said. â€œWe also recognize our responsibility to create messages that are both accurate and inclusive. We take this responsibility seriously.
â€œYesterday, we failed to meet this responsibility. For this, we sincerely apologise.
â€œWe have removed the image and are reviewing our processes to ensure that future images and posts reflect both our values and our global focus.â€
This is not the first time an airline and social media have come together with disastrous results.