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Belgian newspaper depicts Obamas as apes

There’s nothing like a fresh dose of racism to set the tone for a diplomatic visit.

According to the Huffington Post, De Morgen, a progressive Belgian newspaper, used Photoshop to make President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, look like apes.

The newspaper later apologized for the image, which it said was meant to be presented in a satirical light considering it said they were published at the request of Russian President Vladamir Putin.

“When you consider the fragment apart from its context, which is a properly worked out satirical section, then you don’t see the joke but just a picture evoking sheer racism,” the newspaper said. “We wrongly assumed that racism is no longer accepted, and that in this way it could be the subject of a joke.”

Obama landed in Belgium on Monday.