Getty Images, one of the world’s top photo agencies, is being roundly criticized after misidentifying actress Kelly Marie Tran from “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” as Olympic figure skater Mirai Nagasu.
Both women were on the red carpet at the 90th Academy Awards ceremony held Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
Tran was one of the evening’s presenters along with other “Last Jedi” cast members. As rebel mechanic Rose Tico, she became the first Asian American woman to have a leading role in a “Star Wars” film. Nagasu, who recently returned from the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, brought her bronze medal from the team figure skating competition, in which she became the first American to land a triple axel in the Olympics.
The two, who do not resemble each other, were wearing similar colors, but Tran had a halter dress while Nagasu had a V-neck dress. They hugged each other while being interviewed by “Access Hollywood.”
As many observers noted, this is only the latest example of mainstream media being unable to tell one Asian American from another. Getty previously mixed up two actresses, Kimiko Glenn from “Orange Is the New Black” and Hong Chau from “Downsizing.”
“THE TOMFOOLERY HAS BEGIN,” tweeted comedian Jenny Yang. “Apparently it’s a Getty Images problem but omg CAN WE NOT DO A VISUAL SPOT CHECK???”
Phil Chung of the Angry Asian Man tweeted, “This felt inevitable.”
Sacramento community activist Lorna Fong posted on Facebook, “Sheesh Getty Images. Really? Do all Asians STILL look alike? Vogue at least had ACCURATE photo credits.”
In a statement on Monday, Getty Images said: “Getty Images sincerely apologizes for the images of Kelly Marie Tran that incorrectly identified her as Olympian Mirai Nagasu and was licensed by customers who trusted the accuracy of the caption information.
“Getty Images holds itself to a high standard of editorial integrity and has robust measures in place to ensure our content ingestion process upholds these standards. We, like all news agencies, regret when these measures fail to capture an error.
“We distribute the work of a number of excellent image partners who are also covering major events such as The Oscars and as soon as the caption error was brought to our attention, the caption was amended and the correct images provided to our customers.
“We apologize to Ms Tran and Ms Nagasu for this error and meant no disrespect.”