Kodak finds itself in a similar position as Sony a few weeks ago as a seemingly innocent Instagram post set off an online furore in China that led to a retraction and apology from the company.
What caused netizens in China to become upset? Kodak shared a photograph by French photographer Patrick Wack taken in the Xinjiang region. It was accompanied by a caption that described the “forced detentions” of Uighurs.
Specifically referring to the region as an “Orwellian” dystopia (so named after author George Orwell and, specifically, deriving from his oft-cited, rarely understood work, “1984”), the caption described what it called a “mass arbitrary detention system being set up in the region.”
As anyone who is vaguely familiar with China and its internal politics, this is a sensitive area, to say the least.
The Global Times, a mouthpiece for the Chinese Community Party, went so far as to call the post anti-China slander.
They further stated: “For Kodak, it is better for the company to realize that there are numerous photographers and vloggers in China who use Kodak products to create works that reflect life in Xinjiang, and who know more about Xinjiang than Wack. If Kodak really cares about Xinjiang, why it is not promoting works by Chinese photographers to netizens worldwide?”
Since this post, Kodak removed the offending photograph and caption from its Instagram account. The company further posted on its account that the caption stated the views of the photographer and not the company itself. So far, pretty standard stuff as far as most international companies go.
Of course, we’d love to hear your thoughts on Kodak’s taking down an Instagram post due to a negative reaction in China in the comments below.
Don’t forget to check out some of our other photography news on Light Stalking at this link right here.