British Embassy celebrates burning down of White House in 'tasteless' tweet
Light-hearted diplomatic trolling is met with a fierce rebuke
The UK's special relationship with the US endured a minor social media inspired blip yesterday when the British Embassy was forced to apologise for apparently celebrating the 200th anniversary of the burning of the White House
On the @UKinUSA Twitter account, the British Embassy posted a picture and caption that was clearly meant as a light-hearted trolling of Americans. Many of them, however, appeared not to get the joke.
Posted below a picture of a cake shaped like the White House, which had been decked out with sparklers, the British Embassy wrote the comment: "Commemorating the 200th anniversary of burning the White House. Only sparklers this time!"
A number of Twitter users responded angrily to the tweet. Yossi Gestetner wrote: ‘HELLO David Cameron. The tweet by [the British Embassy] is of poor taste. Disappointed in the Conservatives.’
"Even if Talking Heads were singing it, I think this is in extremely POOR TASTE," wrote another Twitter user.
Commemorating the 200th anniversary of burning the White House. Only sparklers this time! pic.twitter.com/QIDBQTBmmL— British Embassy (@UKinUSA) August 24, 2014
Another user said: “Good to know the US isn't the only country with a mentally deficient diplomatic corps that doesn't know how to tweet.”
Just three hours later the embassy was forced into a retreat and issued an apology to dozens of angry Americans. The chastened Embassy social media staff wrote: "Apologies for earlier Tweet. We meant to mark an event in history & celebrate our strong friendship today," before posting a link to a an essay written by Deputy Head of Mission Patrick Davies.
His article, entitled 'The Torch of Friendship' details the history behind the siege on Washington in August 1814.
The siege or burning of Washington was an attack during the war of 1812 by British forces and those of the United States of America. The American troops had been defeated by at the Battle of Bladensburg by troops led by Major General Robert Ross.
Apologies for earlier Tweet. We meant to mark an event in history & celebrate our strong friendship today http://t.co/gs3heJDMzt— British Embassy (@UKinUSA) August 25, 2014
His forces later went on to occupy then Washington City and destroy a number of buildings, including the White House.
"Needless to say, we've put the events of August 1814 far behind us," Mr Davies writes.
"So much so, in fact, that when the British prime minister, David Cameron, visited the White House two years ago, he and President Obama, fresh from watching a March Madness basketball game together, traded wisecracks about the burning. The redcoats 'made quite an impression,' Obama said. 'They really lit the place up.'"
"I can see you've got the place a little better defended today," Cameron replied. "You're clearly not taking any risks with the Brits this time."
Although many Twitter users appeared to have found the comment offensive one user at least found the Tweet enjoyable, writing: "hat tip for the sheer ballsiness of this post!"
The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
- 1 Salisbury ranked seventh-best city in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy has not been arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Chicago voter tells Obama 'don't touch my girlfriend' – Obama stays super smooth
Oscar Pistorius: The brutal prison life that awaits disgraced athlete
Banksy has not been arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Ebola outbreak: Nowhere is safe until virus is contained in Africa, claims the top doctor who beat it in Nigera
Raphael Ravenscroft dead: 'Baker Street' musician who played the most famous saxophone solo for just £27, dies aged 60
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Worst Airports of 2014: Poll names Islamabad airport in Pakistan worst in the world
£60 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Youth Support Workers Glouceste...
£19000 - £21000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPOR...
£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...
£80 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: **Due to an increase in dema...