AP Photo/Ryan Kang
Earlier this week, news broke about actor Chris Pratt supposedly wearing a racist-themed shirt. The image on his t-shirt featured an American flag with a coiled rattlesnake and the words “Don’t Tread On Me” emblazoned upon it. It was actually kind of a cool shirt.
However, Yahoo lost its mind over it, desperately trying to link the image to white supremacy.
If you go looking for the link I included in this post, however, you won’t find the words “white supremacy” in it. Why? Because the backlash was so severe, in part due to the claims that not just Pratt but Second Amendment supporters were racist, that the website killed all mention of the term.
Yahoo Movies UK on Wednesday updated the headline and text of a story about Chris Pratt after backlash over online claims that the “Avengers: Endgame” star wore a “white supremacist” t-shirt.
“This article was updated on 17 July with the initial headline, ‘Chris Pratt criticised for ‘white supremacist’ T-shirt’ being amended to ‘Chris Pratt criticised for T-shirt choice.’ References to White Supremacism in this article have been removed,” an update on the story reads.
The British division of the news site came under fire for the Tuesday article about Pratt’s decision to wear a shirt featuring a Gadsden flag, or an American flag accompanied by a rattlesnake and the words, “Don’t tread on me.”
L.A. Times columnist Jonah Goldberg weighed in: “Shame on @Yahoo for this trash. A handful of dumb twitter comments isn’t a news story you click-baiting parasites. There [sic] nothing white supremacist about that T-shirt. It’s like everyone wants to be stupid and make everything worse.”
Goldberg’s comments hit the nail on the head.
However, what didn’t get mentioned is that they managed to insult a huge swath of the American public. Granted, it’s Yahoo Movies UK, so they probably didn’t really give a damn, but still…
After infuriating large numbers of Americans, particularly the Tea Party and Second Amendment supporters, Yahoo got called on the horrible reporting and the tenuous link –at best–between the Gadsden Flag and anything approaching white supremacy. It pulled it out of its butts. Yahoo just knew the flag was racist because everything that’s remotely pro-American is racist in its demented mind.
But, I’ll give it credit. Yahoo retracted the accusation of racism and white supremacy.
What Yahoo didn’t do, however, was offer an apology. It called millions of honest, hardworking Americans racist because they too identify with the sentiment found on the Gadsden Flag. Many of us are a coiled rattlesnake warning others not to tread on us. A similar theme can be found on the Navy Jack, one our men and women of all ethnicities serving in the United States Navy wear on a regular basis. There’s nothing racist about that one either.
Many of us, the very people who embrace that flag as an important part of not just American history but our modern cultural identity took great offense at being accused of racism or of even tolerating that.
For that, we’re owed at least a heartfelt “I’m sorry.” We all know we won’t get it, but we’re definitely owed one.