LOS ANGELES — Who knew a tattoo could lead to such an embarrassing gaffe?
That was 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, the company, 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 under 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.
“(H)ave 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 overshadowed the ceremony.
Total Beauty took to Twitter to apologize.
— Total Beauty (@TotalBeauty) February 29, 2016
What did Winfrey make of the embarrassing mix-up?Her best friend and CBS “This Morning” co-host Gayle King took to Instagram, showing Winfrey looking puzzled while holding a cellphone 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!”
So far, there’s been no comment from Goldberg on the error.