Company cops backlash for confusing Oprah with Whoopi
(CNN) — Who knew that a tattoo could lead to such an embarrassing gaffe?
That was the case during the Oscars on Sunday, when a beauty website attempted to pay a compliment — and it went terribly wrong.
In a tweet commenting on celebrity red carpet looks, Total Beauty confused comedian and actress Whoopi Goldberg, 60, with media mogul Oprah Winfrey, 62.
Total Beauty, a Los Angeles-based company that posts fitness tips, tweeted a picture of Goldberg on the red carpet at the 88th Academy Awards, her tattooed shoulder on display, along with the caption “We had no idea @Oprah was #tatted, and we love it.”
In a year in which Hollywood’s treatment of racial issues has been in the spotlight, social media reaction to the blunder — confusing two powerful African-American women in the media — was swift and merciless.
The tweet was swiftly deleted, but not before critics had had their say.
“have you even seen a black person before?” asked one Twitter user.
“You could not have picked a worse year for a gaffe like this one. #OscarsSoWhite,” tweeted Steven Nelson, professor of African and African-American art history at UCLA, referring to the diversity controversy that preceded the ceremony.
It subsequently tweeted it would use the mistake as an opportunity to donate $10,000 to a charity of Goldberg and Winfrey’s choice.
What did Winfrey make of the embarrassing mixup?
Her best friend and CBS “This Morning” co-host Gayle King took to Instagram, showing Winfrey looking puzzled while holding a cell phone with Goldberg’s picture.
The caption read: “@Oprah & favorite daughter watching #Oscars & seeing @totalbeauty snafu! We all love @whoopigoldberg but we don’t all look alike Jeeeze!”
Goldberg told her “The View” co-hosts Monday that “it was an honest mistake” and the charitable donation would not be necessary.
“I feel pretty good if you’re comparing me to Oprah. Saying I look like Oprah, that’s not a bad thing,” she said. “It could have been a lot worse.”