Hannity Removes Post Alleging Secret Sperm Images Hidden In Obama Portrait

on February 12, 2018 in Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 12: Former U.S. President Barack Obama stands next to his newly unveiled portrait during a ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, on February 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. T... WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 12: Former U.S. President Barack Obama stands next to his newly unveiled portrait during a ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, on February 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. The portraits were commissioned by the Gallery, for Kehinde Wiley to create President Obama's portrait, and Amy Sherald that of Michelle Obama. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday removed an article from his radio show’s website that claimed the official portrait of former President Barack Obama contained secret images of sperm.

“Controversy surrounding Kehinde Wiley’s wildly non-traditional portrait of the Commander-in-Chief broke out within minutes of its unveiling,” the article, written by “Hannity staff,” asserted, “with industry insiders claiming the artist secretly inserted his trademark technique -concealing images of sperm within his paintings.”

An archived version of the post can be read here.

The article included an excerpt from a 2008 New York Times profile, which claimed of Wiley: “His portraits initially depicted African-American men against rich textile or wallpaper backgrounds whose patterns he has likened to abstractions of sperm.”

Hours after the article’s deletion, Hannity said in a statement provided to TPM by a Fox News representative: “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.”

Hannity’s post also included a close-up crop of the portrait, presumably showing the suspected sperm.

Dan Lavoie, a staffer for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, flagged that the baseless conspiracy had earlier appeared on the message board website 4Chan — by now a well-known hub for alt-right and white nationalist chatter.

Hannity also reportedly deleted a tweet promoting the post:

This post has been updated.

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