Patterico's Pontifications


Obama’s Official Portrait Unveiled, Sean Hannity Claims “Inappropriate Sexual Innuendo”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:37 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The official portraits of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle were unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery yesterday. Certainly reactions to the non-traditional renderings have run the gamut from something brilliant, to something not brilliant.

Here are their portraits:



You can read several interesting perspectives about the artists, Kehinde Wiley (President Obama) and Amy Sherald (Michelle Obama) and their work here and here. Over at the National Portrait Gallery’s website, you can search for previous president’s and their wives’ portraits here. It’s a great website.

And proving once again that anything Obama still makes certain corners of the internet go batcrap insane, Sean Hannity tweeted this bit of madness:


In the tweet, he linked to a post at his website entitled: PORTRAIT PERVERSION: Obama Portrait Features ‘SECRET SPERM,’ Artist Joked About ‘Killing Whitey,'” once again reminding the public that he has long since gone over the deep end of conspiracy lunacy, and continues to trawl the toxic, mucky waters of Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Things just aren’t always exactly what they appear to be, or what partisan hacks need them to be:

The evidence for the former claim comes from a 2008 New York Times article—conveniently not “fake news” when it supports Hannity’s agenda—that reports Wiley’s portraits “initially depicted African-American men against rich textile or wallpaper backgrounds whose patterns he has likened to abstractions of sperm.” Hannity’s piece includes a close up of a vein in Obama’s forehead in the portrait that someone on his “staff” apparently thinks looks sperm-like.

It appears that the whole “sperm” theory originated on—where else?—4chan, where a thread was posted on Monday proclaiming, “Official Portrait of Obama has SPERM on his face!!!” That post just happened to include the same close up of Obama that Hannity used on his site.

As for the “Kill Whitey” part, that dates back to a quote Wiley gave New York magazine in 2012 about a painting in which a black woman holds the severed head of a white woman in the style of Biblical depictions by artists like Caravaggio. In other words, art.


“Women have always been decorative,” Wiley says, gesturing at the portraits around him. ‘They’ve never been actors or possessed real agency.”

Which brings us back to the lady with the severed head. Like most Wiley paintings, this one has a backstory: Her name is Triesha Lowe, Wiley explains. She’s a stay-at-home mom whom Wiley found at the Fulton Mall. Her pose is a riff on classical depictions by Caravaggio and Gentileschi, of the biblical story of Judith beheading Holofernes. And the severed head? “She’s one of my assistants.”

Several hours later, Hannity deleted his tweet and the post at his website. He offered this explanation:

Earlier today my web staff posted content that was not reviewed by me before publication. It does not reflect my voice and message and, therefore, I had it taken down.

You’re a great American, Sean. Don’t ever change!

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


55 Responses to “Obama’s Official Portrait Unveiled, Sean Hannity Claims “Inappropriate Sexual Innuendo””

  1. Sean Hannity leads cable news with an average of 3.48 million viewers since the start of the year. That’s a lot of people buying what he’s selling.

    Dana (023079)

  2. Sounds like the same embarassing slobber we saw for eight years,
    Good grief do they ever stop putting us on.

    narciso (d1f714)

  3. Dana is on it. Here’s a Trump Tweet

    Pinandpuller (16b0b5)

  4. De gustibus non est disputandum, but I don’t gustibus the background for POTUS-44, and the size and ambiguous number of digits on his YUGE hands — which are drawn to be longer from wrist to fingertip than from wrist to elbow — are seriously creeping me out.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  5. While Vermeer was painting caves I suppose.

    Pinandpuller (16b0b5)

  6. Kehinde Wiley seems to advocate violence to white women as depicted in these paintings.

    AZ Bob (f60c80)

  7. Bah. Thank you for that link, I suppose, Pin. Trump always has to go over the top. He should have stuck with the fingers remark, but no, he goes where even his lick-spittle repented and recanted.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  8. Hans Christian Andersen, says i didnt mean it as a how to guide

    narciso (d1f714)

  9. Trump would have stop payment on such portraits and you crazy NeverTrumpers would still call him an idiot and some ethnic slur for people who don’t pay. But he’d be right and you’d be wrong.

    Pinandpuller (16b0b5)

  10. I said so in a dead thread but I want to see the artist’s take on Kathy Griffin.

    How do you get a white decapitated chick from the Bible, they were all black weren’t they?

    Pinandpuller (16b0b5)

  11. I really like the painting of Michelle. It doesn’t look like her much, especially the facial expression.

    AZ Bob (f60c80)

  12. Pinandpuller, do you have a link for the tweet on Trump’s verified account? I don’t see it.

    Dana (023079)

  13. I shouldn’t have said “you crazy NeverTrumpers” because I don’t want to wrongly attribute feelings and sentiments to the people who inhabit this comment section. Just one guy who’s clocked out right now.

    But guys like Evan McMuffin and Bill Kristol, 100%.

    Pinandpuller (16b0b5)

  14. Michele’s portrait aside from looking nothing like her appears to be a paint by numbers deal.

    Rev.Hoagie (6bbda7)

  15. That was posted to Reddit, Dana. Maybe he deleted it and Mueller can bring articles of impeachment.

    Pinandpuller (16b0b5)

  16. This is his official portrait, just the final Bronx cheer, to a country that gave him the unwarranted privilege.

    narciso (d1f714)

  17. Has anyone seen Tim’s Vermeer? It’s said that the Camera Obscura adds 300 pounds of kudzu.

    Pinandpuller (16b0b5)

  18. Has Sean been waterboarded yet?

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  19. Imagine being the kind of person who gets mad about something like this. Should have painted Obama in a tan suit to really trigger people.

    Davethulhu (99cc74)

  20. I agree, AZ Bob and Hoagie. That portrait of Michelle looks nothing like her. And why is she wearing my patio umbrella?

    nk (dbc370)

  21. Dogslaying poker, stopped to sneer,

    narciso (d1f714)

  22. Hey, Sean, me boy-o; this outta turn your beer pea-green; they look like GW Bush painted them. Stupid mick.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  23. Not mad here. Amazed. This didn’t cost $20 at the Santa Monica Pier?

    Pinandpuller (16b0b5)

  24. I thought you were dogsplaining art to me narciso. They usually only talk about greenery for the scenery at The Peppermint Rhino.

    Pinandpuller (16b0b5)

  25. 1. I think the floral background for POTUS is silly, but apparently it’s a thing this artist is known for.

    2. I agree that the portrait doesn’t look very much like Michelle. But that’s a heck of a dress, at least.

    3. I read that Wiley originally wanted O. to pose on horseback, a la the long standard for kings and emperors. But O. said no to that. He thought it was too arrogant. And if I. thought it was too arrogant….

    Kishnevi (ce6470)

  26. In a similar vein:

    Maybe she was an undercover mib agent like Andy warhol in the last men in black film

    narciso (d1f714)

  27. I think Barack T Firefly’s portrait is entirely apt.

    He looks unpresidential.

    As to Moochelle (are people still wrongly blaming Rush for ‘Moo-Chelle’?), it looks no different from any other upper-class vanity portrait that fails to look like the subject.

    Yawn – when’s the post coming about Sessions and Anglo-American Common Law?

    harkin (75fedf)

  28. BTW, Anne Boleyn had six fingers, according to tradition. Conspiracy theory time!

    Kishnevi (ce6470)

  29. So she was an alien too, re phillippa gregory the problematic gene was probably on henrys side of the family

    narciso (d1f714)

  30. A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
    A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
    A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
    A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh

    In the jungle, the mighty jungle

    nk (dbc370)

  31. So if an artist who does Trump’s portrait also did two paintings where white people were depicted beheading black people, regardless of context, NOBODY on the left would have a problem with it right???


    harkin (75fedf)

  32. The lyin king?

    narciso (d1f714)

  33. Trawling Google Images suggests this is a rather boring painting compared to most of Wiley’s work–which depends on a knowledge of tropes of European art from 1500-1800 to work.

    Kishnevi (ce6470)

  34. Harkin, do an image search on Judith beheading Holofernes.

    Kishnevi (ce6470)

  35. I wonder if Obama asked the artist to paint him “by the book.” At least that’s what Susan Rice says.

    AZ Bob (f60c80)

  36. Naw. It’s one of those magic eye pictures, where you have to unfocus and stare into infinity to see the “secret sperm”.

    papertiger (c8116c)

  37. How many believed that “it’s moisturizer”? Besides Denise Richards.

    Pinandpuller (16b0b5)

  38. Cameron Diaz thinks it’s hair jell.

    papertiger (c8116c)

  39. Tales of Anglo-African countries: Republic of Mauritius

    The people of Mauritius are multiethnic, multi-religious, multicultural and multilingual. The island’s government is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system, and Mauritius is highly ranked for democracy and for economic and political freedom. The Human Development Index of Mauritius is the highest in Africa.
    The government uses English as its main language.

    Since independence from Britain in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculture-based economy to a middle-income diversified economy, based on tourism, textiles, sugar, and financial services. The economic history of Mauritius since independence has been called “the Mauritian Miracle” and the “success of Africa”

    papertiger (c8116c)

  40. Compare and contrast with Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and South Africa which tried to hold on to a white supremacist system until they were finally beaten down by insurgencies.

    nk (dbc370)

  41. His stare is hollow, cold

    He drips sweet anise

    His roaches tightly rolled

    He’s got Marshall Davis Eyes

    He’ll turn his magic on you

    You might even vote twice

    He’s pure as Detroit Eau

    He’s got Marshall Davis Eyes

    And he’ll beat you

    He’ll unseat you

    Fade a jump shot when he meets you

    And he showed us, that his true colors

    They run right through a Royal Flush

    He’s got Fidel Castro’s bantam thighs

    He’s got Marshall Davis Eyes

    Pinandpuller (498995)

  42. Isn’t this Black AMERICAN History Month? Come on guys!

    Pinandpuller (498995)

  43. @Kishnevi:Harkin, do an image search on Judith beheading Holofernes.

    You know, and I know, and everyone here knows, that if the races were reversed in those portraits, that a European pedigree would be no defense whatever.

    Exhibit A: “Anglo-American” judicial system. That Barack Obama referred to it as such many times matters not one whit to the people accusing Sessions of racism and dog whistles.

    Frederick (637e6e)

  44. Why did he pose upon a wall of ivy if he is a self professed Thug Sox fan?

    urbanleftbehind (d74249)

  45. That’s not ivy! Those are pansies. For real.

    nk (dbc370)

  46. At least it wasn’t Mirth and Girth.

    urbanleftbehind (d74249)

  47. Frederick – exactly – but they don’t care.

    Without the double standard they’d be forced to actually reflect.

    Same with Sessions’ ‘Anglo-American’ comments, dishonesty is all they have for a clueless base.

    harkin (75fedf)

  48. When he claimed to be a huge Sox fan, they followed up with a Q about his favorite players…….crickets.

    harkin (75fedf)

  49. Hannity, Schmanity
    Genetic Fallacy!

    Did the artist utter the words “Kill Whitey” or not.

    Oh, he was just kidding. That’s OK then.

    phunctor (bf276f)

  50. These are crazy bad paintings. I don’t care about the politics – this is just an embarrassment of stupidity.

    They are supposed to be oil paintings, but the background of the Obama picture looks Photoshoped (the same leaves appear over and over). So it is more of a paint by number deal. The perspective of the chair is all wrong (where is the left arm of the chair, in Obama’s butt?) Also the hands are huge, probably because his right one has six fingers!

    I mean, my high school kids draw better.

    And the less said about Michelle’s painting the better.

    George Orwell's Ghost (a815b9)

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