French newspaper Le Monde apologized to its readers Monday, two days after publishing a cover featuring embattled French President Emmanuel Macron that many critics said bore a stark resemblance to a 2017 Harper’s Magazine cover with German dictator Adolf Hitler.
Le Monde released the controversial magazine cover Saturday. The cover showed a black-and-white photo of Macron along with an image of “yellow vest” protesters heading down the Champs de Elysees toward the Arc de Triomphe projected on the president’s suit.
Many readers noticed similarities to a Harper’s Magazine cover from July 2017 that showed a black-and-white photo of Hitler and a crowd of people giving the Nazi salute. The font of the letter “M” on Saturday’s magazine cover was also compared to the Nazi swastika. Both covers also featured the color red — in a large Nazi flag behind Hitler and two large stripes behind Macron.
Readers slammed the newspaper for comparing the French president to Hitler. National Assembly president Richard Ferrand tweeted he was “looking forward” to Le Monde’s explanation of the cover.
“Looking forward to understanding what underlies the graphic and iconographic references of @lemonde_M If it cannot be a matter of chance, what is it then? In search of the lost meaning…” Ferrand wrote on Twitter.
Le Monde’ editor-in-chief Luc Bronner addressed the controversy and said the publication was not likening Macron to Hitler.
“We apologize to those who have been shocked by the graphic designs that obviously do not correspond in any way to the criticism we have received,” Bronner wrote in a statement published on the newspaper’s website.
“The elements used referred to the graphics of Russian constructivism at the beginning of the 20th century, who used black and red,” he added. “The cover is also inspired by the work of other artists, notably that of Lincoln Agnew, who has produced numerous graphic subjects for M.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.