Public Assholes for the United States

28 Jun

Disclaimer: This post was written in a state of severe agitation.  It really should be better thought-out and better written, but I am going away for the weekend and would rather write now when the anger is fresh and directed.  So, enjoy.

Today I had a plan to write a blog about a somewhat heart-touching moment that occurred while I was doing some angry food shopping at Trader Joe’s yesterday.  But then I saw a link to this on my Facebook feed.  The basic gist, for those of you who are either (1) too lazy to read about it yourself or (2) working in a Big Brother-esque office that doesn’t allow you to surf the intertubery freely, is that a photograph (one that happened to be taken by an incredibly talented photographer in my neighborhood named Kristina Hill) shot at a wedding was stolen, photo-shopped with a politically-motivated message,  and used by a group called Public Assholes, I mean Advocates, for the United States in a campaign targeting Senator Jean White for her vote for the last two years that allowed same-sex couples to form civil unions.  Here is the original photo*:

Photograph by Kristina Hill Photography

And here is what Public Advocates for the United States did to it:

I’m sorry, really??  How can you be so awful as to steal from a couple a photograph which, in the words of the couple,

“…represents my first home away from home, my beloved NYC, which at the time this image was taken (2 years ago) did not allow same sex couples to marry. It represents my longterm relationship with my best friend, my partner, and now husband – the love we share and obstacles we have overcome. It is a reminder of the happiness I felt the day he proposed to me and of the excitement I had all throughout our engagement. It represents hope and it represents love. Or at least it did…”

The action taken by Public Advocates for the United States is just so nauseatingly wrong to me it makes me want to scream.  It is horrific.  It is immoral.  And also possible illegal.  I’m pretty sure the photograph is a possession of the photographer and the couple (who presumably purchased it from her) and therefore is not in the public domain and therefore should not be used without the express permission of the owner of the photograph, ie Kristina Hill herself.  And, knowing Kristina, I cannot imagine any circumstance in which she would even for a millisecond consider giving someone permission to use any of her photographs for such a hateful purpose.

From their own website, this group claims its mission is

“defining political issues of our time, always defending the rights of fathers, mothers and children to live their lives free from government intrusions and the self-serving motives of liberal special interests and agendas.”

I just, wow.  Okay.  I don’t understand what is not self-serving about what this group has done with this image.  And I also don’t understand how a group that truly wants less governmental intervention in the lives of “fathers, mothers and children” can possibly advocate for the governmental regulation of the private lives of individuals who, as it turns out, are oftentimes they themselves mothers, fathers and children.  I also don’t understand how a group which claims to have been a vocal supporter of “equality under the law, regardless of one’s sexual orientation” can then turn around and offer strong and vocal opposition to “same sex marriage and furtherence of so-called ‘Gay Rights.'”  (I would also like to point out that the phrasing used there is highly redundant.  If the rights are “so-called” then I really don’t see the need for the quotations surrounding Gay Rights but I suppose that is neither here nor there.)  I am just flabbergasted and horrified at the state of politics in this country today.  Have your views, that’s fine (even though I disagree with them and think they are horribly bigoted and homophobic).  But to steal from a couple an image representative of the moment in which they officially cemented their love, after years of waiting, is horrible.  How can you use someone’s love like that?  How can you attempt to trivialize something so important?  Someone, please, explain this to me.

And another thing, Public Advocates, fuck you and your milquetoast, repressive, hate-filled “family values.”  I’ll take acceptance, understanding and love any day.

*Both photos are taken from the website

8 Responses to “Public Assholes for the United States”

  1. NYC Faces Makeup Artist Anni Bruno June 28, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    What they did is highly illegal. I hope Kristina isn’t too busy capturing beautiful moments like these to sue those a-holes.

    • FranklyRebekah June 28, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

      It seems to me like things are happening. As far as I can tell there are a number of other bloggers that have gotten hold of this nightmare story and word has reached back to the guilty party who, surprise surprise, is not hurrying to apologize. Let’s hope that they chose the wrong photo to alter.

  2. h June 28, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    If they bought the rights from the photographer and then put it on a public blog though it might be a slightly different copyright situation – probably depends on a number of contracts, and might not be as clear as it seems. Though that doesn’t negate the horridness of what they did to the photo.

    • FranklyRebekah June 28, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

      That’s a good point and I am sure it is a lot more complicated than I know. I just really think common sense is a highly underrated tool. Sigh. Legal or not let’s just hope they get their comeuppance and, if nothing else, that in the future they choose stock images to slinging mud at the undeserving.

  3. danielwalldammit June 29, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    What passes for conservative family values is often little more than the malice of a third grade bully grown up and carrying a Bible. There are indeed real forms of perversion in this world. Homophobia is one of them.

  4. TheRewildWest June 29, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

    Beautiful picture and story, and yes, infuriating that some assholes used something so pure and sweet to further their bigoted agenda. My blog is eco/animal-motivated, but I post about other social issues important to my heart and how they connect to everything else. My newest blog is a tribute to Pride Week, I’d love for you to check it out:

    –Love and Liberation–

    Jan @ TheRewildWest


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