... We aim to be understandable by 16 year olds. Sometimes Asian names can be confusing, so we have to be careful about using too many.- British Museum (@britishmuseum) September 13, 2017
We are limited by the length of labels. Dynasties & gods have different names in various Asian languages. We want to focus on the stories- British Museum (@britishmuseum) September 13, 2017
The comment, perceived by many as offensive, soon prompted massive backlash on the micro-blogging website.
this is a bizarre comment - we should be encouraging young people to learn new words and explore the cultures on display- shit face (@pipsuxx) September 13, 2017
"Sometimes Asian names can be confusing, so we have to be careful about using too many"- Amna (@AGlasgowGirl) September 13, 2017
Ethnic names are not something you need to dilute
"asian names are too confusing so we removed them"= institutional racism at it's finest. why not educate 16 yr olds? don't keep them stupid. https://t.co/wbovDiflZW- leo kalyan (@leokalyan) September 13, 2017
Only non-Asian 16 year olds exist? https://t.co/7sQfzMFg9d- Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) September 14, 2017
They didn't find them confusing when they were colonising, looting and filling the museums to begin with. Funny that.- SKbydesign (@SKbydesign) September 13, 2017
Amongst those who criticized the comment was Indian-American actor Kal Penn.
Yeah I guess you used enough from 1858-1947. Stealing the Kohinoor wasn't too confusing for you though. https://t.co/hVId843FCO- Kal Penn (@kalpenn) September 13, 2017
The British Museum quickly issued a clarification and apologised.
Apologies, we would just like to add some further clarification here: pic.twitter.com/t9xnJ8rJ3S- British Museum (@britishmuseum) September 13, 2017
In response to your comments, we feel it's important to address a few final points here: pic.twitter.com/3cRkiwePtU- British Museum (@britishmuseum) September 13, 2017
Their social media 'foot-in-mouth' moment however paved the way for some funny tweets:
"Asian names are so confusing," Kristin said, and nodding in agreement were her friends Kirsten, Kristen, Kristine, Krystin, Krystal, Khrys.- Elizabeth M. (@_ElizabethMay) September 13, 2017
you: Asian names are hard- (@noahjussi) September 13, 2017
you: I love the music of Tchaikovsky
you: Schwarzenegger movies are great
you: my fav Targaryen is Daenerys
If they can understand Targaryen, Lannister, Baelish, Melisandre and Baratheon they can wrap their heads around Ramachandran or Viswanathan!- Melissa Therms (@MelissaTherms) September 13, 2017
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