WikiHow Apologizes for “Whitewashing” Beyonce, Jay Z and Barack Obama


WikiHow has apologized and said it’s “disgusted and ashamed” after a picture of Barack Obama, Beyonce and Jay Z was posted, depicting them as white people in an article titled “How to become a congressman.”

A photo of Barack Obama, Beyonce and Jay Z from a 2012 fundraising event, was reportedly turned into a cartoon on WikiHow, with all three being “whitewashed.”

The cartoon appeared on an article titled “how to become a congressman.” WikiHow has publicly apologized and said it never should have been on the site.

How Did This Happen?

WikiHow tried to explain exactly what happened, in a series of tweets:

“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 colours.

The sketcher sent the colourist a black and white sketch. The colourist wasn’t aware it was Obama and Beyonce. We don’t think the illustrator intentionally whitewashed here.”

They continued to say: “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.”

The image went specifically viral when a fan account tweeted the two images for comparison on January 22nd, with a caption reading: “Wikihow turned Obama, Beyonce and Jay-Z white to explain ‘How to become a congressman’.”

WikiHow’s Apology

WikiHow publically apologized, saying the image was “disgraceful.”

A fuller statement from WikiHow said: “When we saw the whitewashed image of Obama, Jay-Z and Beyonce, we were disgusted and ashamed. It should never have been on WikiHow.”