The largest newswire in the United States, The Associated Press, apologized following the ridicule it endured for its tweet referencing "the French."
In a since-deleted tweet, APStylebook recommended this week that writers avoid using "the" in phrases like "the disabled, the poor, and the French."
It could be dehumanizing, it said, according to the BBC.
The French embassy responded by changing its name briefly to the "Embassy of Frenchness in the United States."
"We just wondered what the alternative to 'the French' would be. I mean, really," Pascal Confavreux, an embassy spokesman, told The New York Times.
Prior to its deletion, the original tweet had 20 million views and 18,000 retweets.
It was widely ridiculed.
One writer, Sarah Haider, joked that there was "nothing as dehumanizing as being considered one of the French" and that a better term was "suffering from Frenchness."
In its apology, APStylebook said its reference to French people was "inappropriate" and that it "did not intend to offend."
"Writing French people, French citizens, etc., is good," the tweet read. "But 'the' terms for any people can sound dehumanizing and imply a monolith rather than diverse individuals. That is why we recommend avoiding general 'the' labels such as the poor, the mentally ill, the wealthy, the disabled, the college-educated."
Lauren Easton, vice president of AP's corporate communications, told the French daily newspaper Le Monde, "The reference to 'the French' as well as the reference to 'the college-educated' is an effort to show that labels shouldn't be used for anyone, whether they are traditionally or stereotypically viewed as positive, negative, or neutral."
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