Pete Buttigieg caught a lot of criticism for using a stock photo of African people to advertise his Douglass Plan initiative named after the legendary abolitionist, Frederick Douglass.
As the picture made its rounds on social media, it was heavily scoffed at by many, including Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who tweeted it was “not ok or necessary” to use the photo of a Kenyan woman to represent Buttigieg’s comprehensive plan to dismantle systematic racism in our country.
The 2020 presidential contender of South Bend, IN, has since apologized through his spokesman Sean Savett for using the photo, USA Today reported.
“We apologize for its use and for the confusion it created,” Savett said, while also defending the use of the stock photo by saying it is “standard practice across many campaigns.”
Savett further stated that a contractor picked the photo and the website it was purchased from did not indicate the photo was actually taken in Kenya.
“On top of everything else, the Buttigieg campaign used a stock photo from Kenya to promote its Frederick Douglass Plan for Black America,” tweeted Ryan Grim, The Intercept’s D.C. bureau chief who wrote an article about it.
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) November 15, 2019
Buttigieg’s new policy plan for Black America, called the Douglass Plan, includes “health equity zones” to address areas where Black Americans disproportionately suffer from health problems, and to promote anti-racism in the medical workforce.
The plan also sets out to reduce incarceration in state and federal prisons by 50 percent and to abolish private federal prisons. The plan will also try to create 3 million new jobs in minority communities within 10 years.
Buttigieg also named climate change disasters and Hurricane Katrina, as examples of how communities of color are left most vulnerable by institutionalized racism.
Buttigieg’s poll numbers within the Black community are low compared to his counterparts. His new African American outreach director, Angela M. Angel, told POLITICO “a lot of Black voters don’t know Pete,” but she was confident that would change.
Unfortunately, this photo debacle doesn’t go towards helping that much.