Shepard Fairey, the artist whose “Hope” poster of Barack Obama became an iconic emblem of the presidential campaign, has admitted that he lied about which photograph from The Associated Press he used as his source, and that he then covered up evidence to substantiate his lie.
Mr. Fairey’s admission, which he made public on Friday, threw his legal battle with the news agency into disarray.
The A.P. claimed in January that Mr. Fairey owed it credit and compensation for using the photograph. But in February Mr. Fairey sued The A.P., seeking a declaratory judgment that the poster did not infringe on the agency’s copyrights and that he was entitled to the image under the “fair use” exception of the copyright law. The A.P. countersued in March, saying Mr. Fairey had misappropriated the photograph.
Mr. Fairey told the agency — and his own lawyers — that he had used a photograph from an April 27, 2006, event about Darfur at the National Press Club in Washington where Mr. Obama was seated next to the actor George Clooney. Instead, the photograph he used was from the same event, but was a solo image of Mr. Obama’s head, tilted in intense concentration.
Mr. Fairey admitted that in the initial months after the suit and countersuit were filed, he destroyed evidence and created false documents to cover up the real source. He said he had initially believed that The A.P was wrong about which photo he used, but later realized the agency was right. (Continue reading here at NYT)