Owen Jones, a self-described socialist and columnist for the left-wing British paper The Guardian, apologised on Wednesday after penning an article on racism in British society that featured a picture of the wrong black British rapper. The mixup prompted people on social media to question if black people “all look the same” to Mr Jones.
Early Wednesday morning, The Guardian published an opinion piece from Jones entitled “Tackling Racism on Social Media Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg”.
The article was in reference to the antisemitic outbursts from British Grime rapper Wiley. However, the article mistakenly featured a picture of rapper Kano, another prominent black rapper in the UK.
Writing on social media, the leftist writer said that he was “absolutely horrified to see this terrible photo mistake”, claiming that he “did not choose the photo or sign it off”.
The Guardian backed up Jones’s claim, writing: “We would also like to clarify that Owen Jones was not involved in this error.”
The excuse did little to quell the Twitter storm that ensued from the incident, with many mockingly calling for Jones to be ‘cancelled’ — poking fun at Mr Jones’s frequent denials that cancel culture is a problem on the internet.
Actor and frequent critic of the woke culture propagated by outlets like The Guardian, Laurence Fox wrote: “They are exactly the thing they accuse you of.” He added: “It would be funny if it wasn’t so typically Guardian.”
Comedian and host of the TRIGGERnometry podcast, Konstantin Kisin, joked: “The newspaper that thinks all black people think the same also thinks they all look the same? NO WAY!”
— Calvin Robinson (@calvinrobinson) July 29, 2020
Calvin Robinson, the co-host of Political Dregs Podcast and the Campaign Champion of the DefundTheBBC movement, joined in on poking fun at Owen Jones, posting a photoshopped mock Guardian headline which read “They all look the same and you know it”.
British rapper and fitness expert, Zuby — who was not the rapper featured in the picture — jokingly wondered “why did they use my photo?”, again mocking the subconcious bias critics claimed was present in Guardian photo editors.
Why did they use my photo?
— ZUBY: (@ZubyMusic) July 29, 2020
As the Twitter storm grew around the Guardian columnist, Jones released a Twitter video, apologising to Kano, as well as to “all black people and people of colour”.
In the apology video, Mr Jones repeated the left-wing mantra that “racism is completely embedded in Western Culture”, explaining that the economic and judicial systems are “rigged” against black people.
He went on to say that it was “gutwrenching” for the scandal to detract from the Black Lives Matter movement, which he praised for “forcing” people to discuss issues of race.
The fury caused by The Guardian using a picture of @TheRealKano rather than Wiley to accompany my piece on media racism couldn't be more legitimate.
I'm beyond sorry at the anger and hurt caused: Kano deserves an unreserved apology, as do all black people and people of colour. pic.twitter.com/esyPdjEp0V
— Owen Jones 🌹 (@OwenJones84) July 29, 2020
Writing in December of 2019, Breitbart News’s James Delingpole took aim at Mr Jones, on the annual Twitter ‘holiday’ known as #OwenJonesIsAWankerDay.
“Normally, I would deplore such dog-piling. It’s what the left does all the time: naming a blameless individual for having committed some imaginary crime such as using the wrong pronoun or making a joke or being pro-Brexit – and then inviting the Social Justice Warrior hate mob to destroy them,” James Delingpole wrote.
“But I wonder if we may need to make an exception in the case of Owen Jones and his ilk, because what they have done to political discourse in Britain over the last few years is dangerous, frightening, and long overdue an almighty backlash,” Delingpole concluded.
Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka