Obama poster artist admits error
NEW YORK – Artist Shepard Fairey, who designed the famous Obama "HOPE" poster, admitted Friday that he used a different Associated Press photo than what he had alleged to create his work and instead used a picture the news organization has claimed was his source.
Fairey, 39, said in a statement that he was wrong which photo he used and that he tried to hide his error.
"In an attempt to conceal my mistake, I submitted false images and deleted other images," said Fairey, who has been involved in countersuits with the AP, which has alleged copyright infringement.
"I sincerely apologize for my lapse in judgment and I take full responsibility for my actions which were mine alone. I am taking every step to correct the information and I regret I did not come forward sooner."
Fairey had claimed he based his "HOPE" drawing on a photo of then-Sen. Barack Obama, seated next to actor George Clooney. The photo was taken in April 2006 by Mannie Garcia, on assignment for the AP, at the National Press Club in Washington.
Fairey now says he started with a solo photograph of Obama — taken at the same event, by the same photographer — a picture seemingly closer to the iconic red, white and blue image of Obama, underlined with the caption HOPE. The AP has long maintained that Fairey used the solo shot.
Attorneys for Fairey have withdrawn and, in papers filed Friday in federal court in Manhattan, stated that he misled them. They also amended the original court documents, reflecting that Fairey used a different picture.
"Mr. Fairey was apparently mistaken about the photograph he used when his original complaint for declaratory relief was filed on February 9, 2009," the papers say.
"After the original complaint was filed, Mr. Fairey realized his mistake. Instead of acknowledging that mistake, Mr. Fairey attempted to delete the electronic files he had used in creating the illustration at issue. He also created, and delivered to his counsel for production, new documents to make it appear as though he had used the Clooney photograph as his reference."
Fairey sued the not-for-profit news cooperative in February, arguing that he didn't violate copyright law because he dramatically changed the image. The AP countersued in March, saying the uncredited, uncompensated use of an AP photo violated copyright laws and signaled a threat to journalism.( Collapse )