World, repeat after us: “Asians do not all look the same.”
Luxury fashion company Burberry tweeted a photo on Sunday of “Rogue One” actor Riz Ahmed at the British Academy Film Awards. But in a particularly cringeworthy move, the brand identified him as Dev Patel, who’d just won Best Actor In A Supporting Role at the ceremony.
The company quickly deleted the photo and eventually tweeted correctly-identified pictures of both Ahmed and Patel. A spokesperson also released a statement, noting that Burberry said sorry to both actors individually and apologizes “unreservedly” for the embarrassing blunder. “This was a mistake that should not have happened and was corrected immediately,” the statement, obtained by Mashable, explained.
Still, Twitter called Burberry out for confusing two actors of South Asian descent who just don’t look anything alike.
While we wish mix-ups like this were unprecedented, there’s been an unfortunate number of these incidents. Just last month, a fake news story identified Doris Truong, a Washington Post editor, as the Asian woman who’d snapped a photo of Rex Tillerson’s notes during his Senate confirmation hearing.
“The woman at the hearing wasn’t me. I wasn’t there, and I don’t know who she is,” Truong wrote in the Post, regarding the story. “What we have in common is that we’re both women, and we’re both Asian.”
And in an isolated move days later, a photo of Noor Tagouri, a Muslim-American journalist, was attached to a story about Noor Salman, the wife of Orlando night club shooter Omar Mateen.
So come on, people. Can we actually learn from Burberry’s mistake this time?