UK apologises for tweet celebrating anniversary of White House burning

17:31 | 25.08.2014
UK apologises for tweet celebrating anniversary of White House burning

UK apologises for tweet celebrating anniversary of White House burning

The British Embassy in Washington DC has been forced to apologise after attracting the the ire of some Americans by tweeting a photograph of a cake celebrating the anniversary of the burning of the White House.

Sent from the official Embassy twitter account, @UKinUSA, the tweet showed a cake with a perfect miniature reproduction of the White House on top, flanked by British and American flags and surrounded by sparkler fireworks.

The caption accompanying the photograph read: “Commemorating the 200th anniversary of burning the White House. Only sparklers this time!” It was set against a background of a sunlit swimming pool.

Three hours later, after receiving dozens of angry replies from American Twitter users, the Embassy issued an apology for the message, saying: “We meant to mark an event in history & celebrate our strong friendship today.”

The original tweet referred to the events of August 24 1814 when British troops occupied Washington for 26 hours, setting fire to several buildings, including the Capitol and the White House, before being forced to return to their ships when a heavy thunderstorm and tornado struck.

It was the only time in history that the US capital has been invaded and caused substantial damage to the White House, which was occupied at the time by President James Madison.

Some Americans appear to continue to feel aggrieved about the incident, part of the 1812 war between the US and Great Britain which began as a dispute over American attacks on Canada.

The Embassy tweet attracted a large number of furious replies, mainly from American Twitter users who described it as being in “extremely poor taste,” as lacking “tact” and not funny.

Michael R. Wimberly wrote: “Ever Marvelled at stupidity or perhaps the tasteless ...well now U have one more marvel to add to the list.”

Yossi Gestetner ‏added: “HELLO @David_Cameron. The tweet by @UKinUSA is of poor taste. Disappointed in the @Conservatives.” And Film Ladd said: “Good to know the US isn't the only country with a mentally deficient diplomatic corps that doesn't know how to tweet.”

Other American users found the photograph amusing, however, and tweeted their support for the Embassy.


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