1205-Netherlands-Black-Pete_full_600*An story linking the death of Nelson Mandela with a controversial blackface character was the catalyst for an apology issued by a top selling Dutch newspaper.

De Telegraaf blamed the “tasteless link” on “an unfortunate convergence of circumstances,” according to the Associated Press.

The opening sentence of the story, which gathered reaction to the passing of the South African civil rights activist, was posted on Friday on De Telegraaf’s website. The sentence in question stated that Mandela “died (with Black Pete) on Sinterklaas evening.”

The AP identified Black Pete as a character traditional portrayed by people in blackface make up. Black Pete is the helper of Saint Nicholas, who brings children gifts on Dec. 5. In the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas is known as Sinterklaas.

Most recently, Black Pete has been at the center of debate in the Netherlands between those who support the Sinterklaas tradition and opponents who label Black Pete a racist throwback.