A Belgian newspaper sparked outrage this week when it published an image of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama doctored to look like monkeys and alleged America’s 44th President began “selling weed” after he took office.
De Morgen published the image just days before Obama visited the county to commemorate World War I.
The paper said it was meant to be satirical – joking that the image was sent in by Russian President Vladimir Putin – and that everyone would find it funny if they were as tolerant of blacks as Belgium.
"We wrongly assumed that racism is no longer tolerated anywhere, and that as a result it could be the subject of a joke,” it wrote.
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When the paper apologized for the “tasteless joke” it alleged the editors didn’t realize that the racist comparison between African-Americans and monkeys happens so regularly in the U.S., according to Belgian Flanders News.
“In this case, we plead guilty of bad taste. We continue to be on the side of those that are battling any form of racism,” it said.