Delta Airlines has been accused of “racism” and forced to apologise after a tweet it posted about the World Cup portrayed Ghana with a picture of a giraffe – despite the fact that there are no giraffes in Ghana.
The tweet congratulated the US football team for its 2 – 1 victory over the African nation last night, and the airline’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 “racial stereotyping” 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 – including Ghana and the majority of its West African neighbours. Twitter user Tom Chaplin wrote: “What do giraffes have to do with Ghana?”
Another (@demimoiselle) said the tweet showed Delta thought that “Ghana = Africa = giraffe”, and a New Jersey-based blogger (@zellieimani) described it as the “most ignorant and racist thing this week”.
Others came to the airline’s defence, however, describing the incident as “ignorance” not “racism”. Brian Hennigan tweeted: “Being racist and not knowing where giraffes live are two different things, leave Delta alone.”