The National Archives admitted it doctored the lead image at an exhibition marking the centennial of women’s suffrage, censoring protest signs in a photograph of the 2017 women’s march to remove phrases and imagery critical of Donald Trump.
The Washington Post reports: :In the original version of the 2017 photograph, taken by Getty Images photographer Mario Tama, the street is packed with marchers carrying a variety of signs, with the Capitol in the background. In the Archives version, at least four of those signs are altered. A placard that proclaims ‘God Hates Trump’ has ‘Trump’ blotted out so that it reads ‘God Hates.’ A sign that reads ‘Trump & GOP — Hands Off Women’ has the word Trump blurred out. Signs with messages that referenced women’s anatomy — which were prevalent at the march — are also digitally altered. One that reads ‘If my vagina could shoot bullets, it’d be less REGULATED’ has ‘vagina’ blurred out. And another that says ‘This Pussy Grabs Back’ has the word ‘Pussy’ erased.”
The Archives said it removed Trump from the signs to avoid political controversy and appear non-partisan.
UPDATE: The National Archives has apologized.
They write: “We made a mistake. As the National Archives of the United States, we are and have always been completely committed to preserving our archival holdings, without alteration. In an elevator lobby promotional display for our current exhibit on the 19th Amendment, we obscured some words on protest signs in a photo of the 2017 Women’s March. This photo is not an archival record held by the National Archives, but one we licensed to use as a promotional graphic. Nonetheless, we were wrong to alter the image. We have removed the current display and will replace it as soon as possible with one that uses the unaltered image. We apologize, and will immediately start a thorough review of our exhibit policies and procedures so that this does not happen again.”