U.K. army apologizes, deletes tweet blasted as racist

LONDON -- Britain’s army was forced to delete a promotional tweet from its official account Wednesday amid an outcry on the social network over what was deemed by many to be racist imagery.

The photograph in question shows a Royal Army soldier during a training exercise in Costa Rica, in camoflage and wearing full face paint. It was the face paint that sparked cries of racism for its resemblance to the so-called “black-face” makeup worn historically by white entertainers portraying people with dark skin.


A screengrab of the British Royal Army’s official Twitter account shows a tweet depicting a soldier during a jungle training exercise in Costa Rica. The tweet was criticized for its resemblance to racist “black-face” makeup, and removed.

British Royal Army

The British army appeared to recognize the potential to cause offense with the image fairly quickly, deleting the tweet within hours as Twitter users ridiculed the misstep.

In a statement, the army apologized for offending anyone and explained that the soldier in the photo was taking part in a jungle exercise for which the full-face makeup was standard.

“We can see how the Tweet may have been misinterpreted, have immediately removed it and apologise for any offence it may have caused,” said the statement, which was followed by another tweet with even more background on the training exercise.