They wanted to appear more diverse.
via Ross Crawford/Flickr
The Émile Cohl, a distinguished French art school, is looking to raise its profile in the United States because it plans to open a school in Los Angeles in the coming years.
So it reached out to an American communications company to create an English website to promote the school stateside. Traditionally, college and university brochures in the U.S. feature a diverse group of students to show the school is welcoming to everyone.
They tend to look like this:
But the problem with the photo supplied by The Émile Cohl, is that the overwhelming majority of students are white.
So, the communications company made the unconscionable decision to “blackwash” the photo by Photoshopping some of the students so they appear to be black.
An Émile Cohl student posted a before-and-after image of the Photoshop fiasco and it quickly went viral.
“When the website was made public, we didn’t notice anything, the students from our school were the first ones to notice it,” Emmanuel Perrier, assistant director of the art school, told CNN.
The photo first appeared on The Émile Cohl’s website on September 5 and it was quickly removed two days later.
The art school has apologized for the racist blunder, fired the American communications company and is considering taking legal action. “The contract is over,” Perrier said. “American law is complex, but we don’t want it to stop there, we would like to file a complaint.”
While the school was right to can its American communications company, it should probably should go a step further by, you know, taking a look at its glaring diversity problem.