Popular how-to website WikiHow has apologised after a cartoon showing Beyoncé, Jay Z and Barack Obama as white people appeared on its website.

WikiHow tweeted they were "disgusted and ashamed" after the 'whitewashed' image of the trio appeared in a "how to become a congressman" article.

The cartoon appears to be based on a photograph taken of the celebrity couple meeting the former president at a fundraising event in 2012.

In response to a tweet highlighting the cartoon, WikiHow replied: "Disgraceful. Working on preventing this from ever happening again."

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The website later apologised for the cartoon, created by a team of illustrators in 2014, explaining: "The colourist wasn't aware it was Obama and Beyoncé."

Wikihow tweeted: "When we saw the whitewashed image of Obama, Jay Z & Beyoncé, we were disgusted & ashamed. It never should have been on wikiHow.

"Within minutes of the 1st tweet, a volunteer removed the image. We then started investigating how it got on wikiHow at all.

Beyonce with President Barack Obama. Photo / Getty Images
Beyonce with President Barack Obama. Photo / Getty Images

"We learned it was made 3 years ago by a team of illustrators who work as one. One person sketches, the other person colors.

"The sketcher sent the colourist a black and white sketch. The colourist did not know the race of the models."

It continued: "The colourist wasn't aware it was Obama and Beyoncé. We don't think the illustrator intentionally whitewashed here.

"This doesn't excuse the fact that we hosted a terrible image on wikiHow and we needed more diversity on that article period.

"We're talking with our illustrators to prevent recurrence and encourage diversity. Especially in positions of power."

Earlier this year, British Gas suffered a social media nightmare with this David Bowie tribute.

...And had to issue this apology when the internet called them out on it: