Microsoft Apologizes for Racially Charged Image Alteration
By Daniel Ionescu
PCWorldAug 26, 2009 6:03 am PDT
Microsoft apologized Wednesday after a Polish version of the company’s ad had a black man’s head replaced with the head of a white man. News of the image alteration in the picture was making the rounds on forums last night. Microsoft pulled the picture today from the Web site hosting the image.
The edit of the Microsoft ad for its Polish division was crude. The U.S. ad depicted three people at a conference table: an Asian man, a black man, and a white woman. When localizing the marketing image for Poland, Microsoft replaced the black man’s with that of a white man.
The photos are basically identical (as pictured above). However, in the picture, only the black man’s head was replaced — the hands noticeably a different color.
Originally many thought this was originally a joke, but Microsoft’s public apology set the record straight. Microsoft told Cnet it was “looking into the details of this situation.”
A couple of other details are peculiar about Microsoft’s (even unedited) image. First of all, the laptop in front of the black man is an Apple MacBook (yes, another Apple product in a Microsoft ad with the logo covered) and the computer monitor in front of the woman is not plugged into anything, even though the keyboard is.
Perhaps Microsoft should either look twice before buying stock photography or just hire a local photographer when they want to localize some marketing images.