Today, President Barack Obama attended the memorial for Nelson Mandela, the former South African president and cherished symbol of perseverance. And he took a selfie. With Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron. First Lady Michelle was not having any of it.
— Michel Eléftériadès (@elefteriades) December 10, 2013
Naturally, Twitter had some harsh words for the president, many of them too salty to share here. These are a few of the more measured angry responses.
The picture of Obama taking a “selfie” at Mandela’s funeral says it ALL. You’re not a celebrity, moron, you’re the president. Act like it.
— Keegan Gaspari (@keegangaspari) December 10, 2013
Is this selfie at the funeral for real? #collapseofcivilization
— Helaine Olen (@helaineolen) December 10, 2013
Others found the humor in the situation:
Don’t act like you’ve never taken a selfie at an anti-apartheid revolutionary’s funeral before.
— Thea Lux (@thealux) December 10, 2013
Novelty Tumblr account “Selfies At Funerals” used this opportunity to bow out of the Tumblr game, noting, “Obama has taken a funeral selfie, so our work here is done.”
Of course, many failed to note that this was actually a celebratory memorial service full of dancing, singing, and general joviality, and not Mandela’s actual funeral. So this is less of an issue of the president treating a recently deceased, beloved global leader with disrespect, and more an issue of the media finding a picture that made it look like the president was disrespecting a recently deceased, beloved global leader and running with it.