The Jury Talks Back


Obama’s Official Portrait Unveiled, Sean Hannity Makes Claim of “Inappropriate Sexual Innuendo”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 7:31 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!


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