Rep. Ilhan Omar targeted South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg for promoting his racial justice plan with a stock photo of a Kenyan woman.
The Minnesota Democrat criticized the 2020 contender for his campaign’s use of the photo which was noted by Intercept D.C. bureau chief Ryan Grim.
Grim tweeted that the unnamed woman in the photo used by the Buttigieg campaign had “reached out to me very confused.”
The Buttigieg campaign using a stock photo of a Kenyan woman for its Douglass Plan for Black America is now news in Kenya.
The woman in the photo reached out to me very confused. One story here: https://t.co/H217w3QXdw
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) November 17, 2019
“What’s the meaning of the message accompanied by the photo? Have no idea of what’s happening…” she had reportedly asked.
The woman, whose name I’ll withhold unless she wants me to use it, writes: “Am the ‘woman’ featured on that photo by githiri Nicholas. what’s the meaning of the message accompanied by the photo? Have no idea of what’s happening…”
I’m trying to imagine being her rn and failing
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) November 17, 2019
“Background is that a photographer made the photo available online for free. A stock photo place grabbed it, and Pete grabbed it from there. She didn’t intend to pose for a stock photo but did agree to be photographed,” Grim explained.
“This is not ok or necessary,” Omar, who has endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, tweeted in response.
This is not ok or necessary 🤦🏽♀️ https://t.co/H9hvQkVWxp
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 17, 2019
“This photo was removed from the page on our website promoting the Douglass Plan months ago as part of an update to the page,” a Buttigieg campaign spokesman told The Hill.
“The stock photo, which is widely utilized across the internet, was initially selected while a contractor was running our site, and the stock photo website it was pulled from did not indicate the photo was taken in Kenya, nor did it identify the woman as being from Kenya in any way,” the spokesman explained.
“Using stock photos on websites is standard practice but as our campaign has grown, we have brought all of our web development in-house to guard against mistakes like this,” the spokesperson added. “We apologize for any confusion this caused.”
The Indiana Democrat’s campaign has struggled to attract the support of African Americans and reports last week revealed that black voters in South Carolina have argued that their support for Buttigieg’s presidential campaign has been overstated, and misleadingly reported.
Pete Buttigieg claimed 400 black South Carolinians support his Douglass Plan for Black America but half the list is WHITE and some of the folks who are black don’t actually support the plan. What in the world? His campaign has some explaining to do. https://t.co/pQcVIfJnEv
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) November 15, 2019
Many joined Omar in her criticism, slamming Buttigieg whose campaign has recently seen a surge in Iowa.
1. If he had actual black support maybe he wouldn’t have to use stock photos.
2. Using a photo of Kenyans as a substitute for black ppl is lazy and ignorant.
3. Not only did he use a stock photo of Kenyans, he also lied about having black endorsements.https://t.co/Th3fd83Cb5
— Femme Flawless🏳️🌈 (@OneTrueShaun) November 18, 2019
Everything mayo Pete tries to do to repair/ingratiate himself with the black community ends up making things worse with these token gestures. You have to do the hard work Pete, not try to trick people
— craig chalk man writer of strongly worded letters (@craigrobb77) November 18, 2019
As a leader he should be taking responsibility and apologizing.
— . (@thatprincesong) November 18, 2019
Others dismissed the reactions, including Omar’s, as just a lot of drama as even Democrats called her out for hurting the party.
If democrats are going to put together a firing squad against hypocrisy, you really should make sure you’re all not standing in a circle.
— John SanPietro (@SanpietroJohn) November 18, 2019
I’m a Democrat, but this seems we are just searching for ways in which to be offended. If the woman in the photo is genuinely upset, I’m sure the campaign would re-evaluate. I don’t know… maybe I’m way off base here.
— liz4240 (@runningperson) November 17, 2019
I feel the stock picture story is getting blown out of proportion. I’m pretty sure if we start checking other campaigns pictures, they probably use stock photos with people from other countries as well. The other part of your report is far more important..
— Aisha Sharna (@SharnaAisha) November 17, 2019
— Dani for 🇵 🇪 🇹 🇪 🌊 (@GoogleKnowsUs) November 17, 2019
They used that photo initially. They replaced it long before the article was written. He literally had to go to the web archive to find it.
— Annoyed Norwegian #TIR #FBIR (@norwegian76) November 17, 2019
It’s a STOCK PHOTO. Why on earth does it matter???
— Annoyed Norwegian #TIR #FBIR (@norwegian76) November 18, 2019
Stock photo gaffes are very common. She is just scoring points with Bernie
— Adair Arrowsmith (@AdairBlackmore) November 18, 2019
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