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Elle Magazine Mistake Deemed Mildly Racist, Mag Confuses Two Black Actresses

elle magazine mistake racist

An Elle magazine mistake in which two black stars were confused for one another has caused controversy on Twitter, and many users feel the mistake was a bit racist in nature.

The Elle magazine mistake occurred during the mag’s “Women In Television” event, attended by both Real Housewives star NeNe Leakes and The Walking Dead‘s Danai Gurira, who plays the amazingly badass character Michonne on the zombie drama.

The women, who look nothing alike and were dressed in dissimilar outfits, were the subject of Elle magazine’s mistake, as Gurira was mislabeled as Leakes in a tweet originating from Elle. (The tweet has since been deleted.)

Not even necessarily eagle eyed Twitter users immediately noticed Elle magazine’s mistake, and began tweeting back to the mag about the error.

After a time, Elle deleted the erroneous tweet and were forced to issue a corrective one, noting that they’d made the embarrassing error and indeed mislabeled Gurira as Leakes.

But the internet never forgets, and screenshots of the mistake have proliferated. Many users have expressed frustration that the mislabeling furthers the idea all black people “look the same,” while other seem to just feel like the incident was an example of the invisibility of women in color in entertainment.

elle magazine mistake racist

Leakes is said to have quipped:

“I mean—look at my hair. I’m blonde!”

Users were not as forgiving of Elle magazine’s mistake, and one ranted:

“Wow highly disappointed! Its bad enough that black actresses and black women in general are almost invisible in Hollywood and fashion, now a major fashion publication cannot seem to tell them apart. A huge fail Elle! But with that I’ll ‘chuck’ one up to ‘Everyone makes mistakes’ – we all do.”

Elle‘s mea culpa read:

Leakes livetweeted her response, posting of the error:

Of course, anyone can make a mistake, and Elle‘s social media staff certainly didn’t mean any harm – but the error also highlights a problem still pervasive in media.

Did you find Elle magazine’s mistake to be an unpleasant reminder of the difficulties women of color face in Hollywood?

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12 Responses to “Elle Magazine Mistake Deemed Mildly Racist, Mag Confuses Two Black Actresses”

  1. Steph Bazzle

    I guess the bar here is whether a similar mistake could've been made with two white actresses. I don't know actors and actresses well, and mix pairs of them up frequently. It would upset me if I was assumed to be racist for a similar mix-up, when I've mixed up white actresses who do not look similar, once I see them side by side. (I thought the woman in that movie where she raises her Amish nieces and nephews was the DA from Law and Order SVU until I checked, just somehow they seemed the same to me.)

    But then….I'm not a major magazine who's expected to know famous people and fact check myself, am I.

  2. Liz Hoitsma

    Ridiculous that this is even an issue. Sometimes people just mistake one person for another. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with race. Seriously seriously seriously blown out of proportion!

  3. Steph Bazzle

    "Of course, anyone can make a mistake, and Elle‘s social media staff certainly didn’t mean any harm – but the error also highlights a problem still pervasive in media." -says the article itself.

    "Of course, anyone can make a mistake, and Elle‘s social media staff certainly didn’t mean any harm…"
    "Of course, anyone can make a mistake…."
    "…..anyone can make a mistake…"

  4. Michael E Whitt

    Retractions are made daily in the newspapers and no one claims racism Sounds like some folks just like to play a race card to further the belief that people are acting with prejudice rather than likley incompetence so readily observed everywhere.

  5. Sean McCrossan

    Call for an inquest! A mistake has been made! Wouldn't there need to be some intent in the mix for someone to be racist? Any chance you think that ELLE, a supposedly hip and upwardly mobile publication would do anything possible to avoid even the slightest hint at anything racially offensive? "A mistake has been made…and it has to do with two black people…it MUST be racist!"

  6. Ill Duce

    EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT! BREAKING NEWS! Elle magazine misidentifies two black actresses and one twitter fool charges them with the racist attitude of "they all look alike" and THAT rises to the level of a story about racism?
    How insulting it is to those that actually experience REAL racism to even comment about this mistake in racial terms.
    The tweeter "lovelythings" is an ignorant fool and the author is as foolish for trying to give the story legs.

  7. Melanie Flory

    How do you know I am dumb? Do you know the definition of dumb? How can you tell by my comment that I am dumb? If you have ever met me, you would know that I am not dumb. Why would you even comment on my comment and use the word dumb? What is up with you?

  8. Melanie Flory

    How do these women look alike? One has blonde hair, the other black. The eyebrows are decidedly different; different shape and different color. The noses are different shapes. The mouths are different shapes. One woman's forehead is larger than the other…and the list in their different looks goes on and on…..

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