National Geographic Photographer Under Fire for Not Wearing Mask During Photoshoot with Ethiopians Because He Claimed They “Have Stronger Immune Systems”


Sometimes it is best to let the photograph speak for itself.

Photo by Peter Fazekas from Pexels.

And it is even more often the case that most of us should say nothing at all on social media, or even be close to it.

One photographer for National Geographic is discovering just that this week after some attached commentary to his drone footage drew more than a little attention to his work and for all the wrong reasons.

FStoppers reports that National Geographic photographer George Steinmetz took some UAV video of people in a rural location in Ethiopia and, in explaining how the UAV always draws a crowd when he uses it, he said “I finally gave up on masks and social distance, as it became clear that rural Ethiopians have much stronger immune systems than people in the industrialized world…Or maybe it’s just the abundance of fresh air and tropical sunlight in this ancient land.”

FStoppers says he continued, saying, “Me no know.”

The post didn’t last long and he deleted it pretty quickly after the controversy started to emerge. To his credit, he did apologize on Twitter with just as much speed.

“Upon reflection, I realize my post came across as insensitive and inappropriate and I have taken it down. Thanks for raising this,” he wrote.

As multiple people are pointing out, Ethiopia is under a level 4 travel advisory according to the US Centers for Disease Control so it isn’t like the pandemic isn’t impacting life there.

What do you think of the photographers’ remarks? Let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to check out our other photography news on Light Stalking at this link right here.


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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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