We give this dog a 0/10.
The Twitter account WeRateDogs has become incredibly popular, amassing almost seven million followers with its good-natured ranking of cute canines. An affiliated account, Thoughts of Dog, has over one million followers.
While its colorful language and nonsense ratings (13/10) have annoyed some users, overall WeRateDogs has just been a haven for cute animals.
Until this week, that is.
Twitter user Danny Capone submitted his dog Kanan to WeRateDogs yesterday. The account did end up sharing the photo, but it used the whitewashed name “George” instead.
Eagle-eyed Twitter user Mary Wagner noticed the discrepancy and reached out to WeRateDogs.
The dog account then blocked Wagner almost immediately.
Matt Nelson, who runs the WeRateDogs Twitter account, said that he checked with Capone before changing the dog’s name—and a later tweet from Capone seemingly confirmed this.
Nelson was still extremely defensive about the whole situation, however. He begrudgingly apologized, but claimed that he frequently changes dog names—for example, from Pablo to Pipsy.
The idea of using a more palatable dog name just to get more likes rubbed plenty of people the wrong way, however.
“It might not be Dog Rates/Matt’s fault that racism is so ingrained in our society that white names perform better, but it is everyone’s responsibility to not perpetuate it.,” Wagner told Observer. “I really enjoy Dog Rates, but I think it’s always worth it to point out these subtle injustices in this day and age, no matter how small they may be.
This isn’t the first time Nelson’s cute dogs have led to controversy. The 21-year-old dropped out of college to monetize WeRateDogs, but not all of his efforts have been successful.
Last year, Nelson created WeRateDogs hats and said half the profits would be donated to Planned Parenthood. The anti-abortion crowd then claimed he was politicizing cute puppies.
But whether the issue is whitewashing or abortion, Nelson is apparently done talking about it.
When Observer reached out to him for comment, he responded with one sentence: “Flint still doesn’t have clean water.”
Looks like Michelle Wolf runs WeRateDogs now.