NBC News on Tuesday faced wide outrage on social media following a tweet depicting American actor Kevin Hart as Jamaican former sprinter Usain Bolt.
The tweet contained a news article about the Olympic medalist and world record holder Bolt who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 following his Monday announcement that he was quarantining himself shortly after celebrating his 34th birthday.
Marlon Walker, a journalist at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, was one of the first to notice the NBC News tweet error, questioning if there was anyone “Black” among the social media staff of the news organization.
“Is there nobody Black on the @NBCNews social staff? That is not @usainbolt. It’s @KevinHart4real,” Walker tweeted. “As journalists, our credibility is everything”.
.@NBCNews, Usain Bolt isn't Kevin Hart...in height, speed, looks, nationality, and/or ethics.— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) August 25, 2020
Don't understand how y'all could have screwed this up so damn bad...oh wait, I might have the white, I mean right, answer. pic.twitter.com/JfRvdR4stG
Twitter users suggested, “maybe some more diversity would have prevented” mistaking an African-American comedian for a Jamaican sprinter, pointing out that “Kevin Hart are two different Black men”.
Crazy thought here. Maybe some more diversity would have prevented this. I’d really like to know how may people looked at this before it was approved. #UsainBolt isn’t #KevinHart how do you not know the difference. YOU BROADCAST THE OLYMPICS! pic.twitter.com/ohozgxk0YL— Liv Evans (@start_livin) August 25, 2020
Netizens responded to the error, mocking an “apparent” likeness between Bolt and Hart.
Usain Bolt looks just like Kevin Hart apparently. This isn’t a racist country though. pic.twitter.com/eXPC2i9OJL— A Thug in Pyromania (@thesteven21) August 25, 2020
I told my brother they must REALLY think all black people look alike.— StingStungMe (@stingstungme) August 25, 2020
My brother said if that's the case then he looks like Denzel. pic.twitter.com/Z0ModUHj3H
NBC News corrected that error and attributed it to “a technical problem”.
“A previous version of this article included an incorrect photo on some platforms due to a technical problem. The photo depicted actor Kevin Hart. It has been replaced with a photo of Usain Bolt,” the outlet said.
Hart reacted to the error stating, “No comment” but then wondering whether he had “gotten really fast & tall overnight”.
“No comment 🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️.....I must of gotten really fast & tall overnight....I want to take advantage of this moment & race anybody in the world. We can bet whatever....Shit just got real. I am also no longer doing comedy due to my Olympic training schedule,” Hart wrote on Instagram on Tuesday.
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No comment 🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️.....I must of gotten really fast & tall overnight....I want to take advantage of this moment & race anybody in the world. We can bet whatever....Shit just got real. I am also no longer doing comedy due to my Olympic training schedule....IM BACK BITCHES!!!!!! 🏃🏾♂️🏃🏾♂️🏃🏾♂️🏃🏾♂️🏃🏾♂️🏃🏾♂️🏃🏾♂️🏃🏾♂️🏃🏾♂️🏃🏾♂️ P.S this is Disrespectful on so many levels....All you can do is laugh. Maybe the Covid 19 shrunk his legs & torso 🤷🏾♂️🤷🏾♂️🤷🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️😂😂😂