Stock images are a great tool for journalists and advertising executives because they provide a cheap alternative to having to hire a bunch of actors and models yourself. But relying too heavily on stock photos (and assuming that they all come from some magical photograph tree) can frequently produce hilariously inappropriate results.
#4. People Thinks All Asian People Look the Same
When word broke that Google's co-founder, Sergey Brin, dumped his wife and began dating one of his employees, Amanda Rosenberg, People magazine nearly tripped over the corpse of the latest Kardashian marriage in its excitement to break the story. They ran a feature showing Brin and his wife along with an insert of someone who was supposed to be Amanda Rosenberg.
Guess that makes even one less person who'll be using Google+.
The problem is, that's not a picture of Amanda Rosenberg. That's a stock photo of an Asian woman wearing Google Glass. People apparently got no further than typing that exact phrase into a Google Image search and taking the top result.
The woman on the right is Amanda Rosenberg. The woman on the left emphatically isn't.
To be fair, those two women could be identical twins, provided they underwent the same skeleton-shaving face removal surgery as Nicolas Cage and John Travolta in Face/Off.
#3. German Political Party Uses the Same Photo as Anti-Semitic Rival
Germany's Free Democratic Party recently ran a campaign ad in their bid for Germany's federal elections featuring a handsome family riding bikes through what appears to be North Carolina. Unfortunately, their bitter political rivals, the National Democratic Party, used the same footage of the smiling family in one of their ads. What drop-kicks this gaffe over the line of "embarrassing" and into "catastrophic" is the fact that the NPD is an anti-Semitic political party full of neo-Nazis who once staged a protest against a moment of silence honoring all of the people killed in Auschwitz, aka one of the most notorious concentration camps in World War II.
It is unclear which member of the family is a Nazi.
And speaking of Nazis ...
#2. Parade Magazine Celebrates a U.S. Navy Chef With Nazi Battleships
When Senior Chief Culinary Specialist Derrick Davenport won a gold medal at an annual culinary arts competition, the staff at Parade magazine felt it appropriate to honor his cookery with an ode to his career in an article whose ornate visual included a fleet of silhouetted cooking utensils and battleships that looked like a Rorschach test for Steven Seagal's character in Under Siege.
Rorschachs were also how Seagal's scripts were written for him.
Unfortunately, despite popular belief, not every single battleship ever created is the same, a fact that a naval writer for Defense News pointed out when he noticed that one of the boats in the collage was an infamous Nazi battleship from World War II.
Parade Magazine, US Naval Institute
The salt and pepper shakers are not affiliated with any regime. The fork is a socialist.
After heroically affiliating an award-winning U.S. serviceman with an engine of oppression, enslavement, and murder, Parade printed an apology, citing that they had no idea there were different kinds of boats.
#1. A Human Rights Ad Claims Random Woman Is HIV-Positive
Recently, the New York State Division of Human Rights ran an ad featuring a picture of a young woman alongside text announcing that she was chock-full of HIV. The purpose of the ad was apparently to inform people with HIV and AIDS that they still have the same basic civil rights as any other American.
New York State Division of Human Rights
"Unless you're gay and/or an illegal immigrant. Then kind of, sort of."
The problem is, the woman in the picture doesn't have HIV. Like, at all. The photo is from a series of modeling shots she took a few years ago that were sold to Getty Images without her knowledge or consent, and the New York State Division of Human Rights simply bought the photo from Getty to use in their advertisements, never considering the potential folly of declaring a total stranger to be HIV-positive. The woman is now suing Getty Images (who should've also contacted her before selling her photograph).
Warner Bros. Television
Evidently nobody involved in this vaudevillian farce saw that Friends episode where the exact same thing happened to Matt LeBlanc.