MOSCOW, September 15 (RIA Novosti) – The US embassy said that “bigotry is the disease of ignorance” in response to a photo of US President Barack Obama with racist connotations, apparently posted on Twitter by a Russian lawmaker.
The photo of Obama and his wife, Michelle, was sent out Friday evening from a Twitter account that seems to belong to a federal Russian lawmaker and former Olympic gold medalist Irina Rodnina of the ruling United Russia party.
The image, which could have been digitally manipulated and has been making the rounds on social media for months, depicts the president chewing a mouthful of food; in the foreground, an outstretched hand is holding a banana at which the Obamas seem to be staring.
“A wise quote from Thomas Jefferson: ‘Bigotry is the disease of ignorance,’” the US embassy said on Saturday.
US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, said in his Twitter that Rodnina demostrated “outrageous behavior, which only brings shame to her [Rodnina] parliament and country.”
As rebukes started popping up, @IRodnina replied, “Freedom of speech is freedom of speech! Answer for your own hang-ups yourselves!”