The photo released by the Associated Press was apparently taken during a press conference and it included climate activists Greta Thunberg, Luisa Neubauer, Isabelle Axelsson, and Loukina Tille with Nakate missing in the shot.
The AP used the photo in one of its stories and shared it on Twitter. Nakate, the only Black activist in the picture, was mad about the decision to crop her out.
“I was cropped out of this photo! Why?” Nakate tweeted.
You didn’t just erase a photo— Vanessa Nakate (@vanessa_vash) January 24, 2020
You erased a continent
But I am stronger than ever pic.twitter.com/J34WMXvPAo
The 23-year-old posted a video to address the issue. According to Nakate, this is the first time she ever “understood the definition of the word racism.”
“We don’t deserve this. Africa is the least emitter of carbons, but we are the most affected by the climate crisis…You erasing our voices won’t change anything. You erasing our stories won’t change anything,” she said.
“I don’t feel ok right now. The world is so cruel.”
Share if you can— Vanessa Nakate (@vanessa_vash) January 24, 2020
What it means to be removed from a photo! https://t.co/1dmcbyneYV
Nakate noted the AP did not give her “any explanation or apology” even after the AP image was replaced with one that included her.
Meanwhile, in a BBC report, AP said there was “no ill intent”.
“The photographer was trying to get a picture out fast under a tight deadline and cropped it purely on composition grounds because he thought the building in the background was distracting,” the news agency’s director of photography, David Ake, said.
Many people including Thunberg have condemned Associated Press over the issue.
As expected https://t.co/6EsexZJ7DT— Vanessa Nakate (@vanessa_vash) January 26, 2020
A few hours later, Nakate tweeted that the executive editor of AP has apologized.
She also added that “Everyone would like to know how such a mistake was made especially when you had more photos?”
The young activist who has since garnered over a hundred thousand followers on Twitter said the whole ‘racist cropping’ saga has made her stronger and even amplified her voice.
“Now that I can reach a larger audience, I am going to use my platform to help amplify unheard voices!” she said.