Artist behind anti-Trump billboard in Arizona reports death threats

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An artist is reporting death threats over an anti-Trump billboard she created in Arizona.

Karen Fiorito’s red billboard, which was commissioned by a Phoenix art gallery, went up on Friday afternoon. It shows President Trump wearing a Russian flag pin, flanked by mushroom-cloud explosions and dollar signs that resemble Nazi swastikas.

Fiorito, an artist and activist from California, told the Arizona Republic that she and her husband began receiving death threats over the image on Saturday. 

{mosads}The artist said she knew the piece would be controversial.

“Billboards are perfect, because you don’t have to go to a gallery to see it,” she said. “You’re creating a dialogue with the public. You’re reaching people you’d never reach with your artwork.”

“I’ve been called a communist, a Satan worshiper,” she said. “I’ve been told I’m a ‘very, very sick person.’ I’m not sure what that means. I haven’t been answering the phone. My husband has because he’s not afraid to talk to anyone, but he told me he received a couple death threats this morning. … He said, ‘They were coming to get us with their boys.’ “

Fiorito, who was asked to do a similar billboard protesting former President George W. Bush by the same gallery, told the newspaper that businesses under the billboard have received threats as well.

“At first I was really excited about doing it, but then you always have this fear, this ‘Oh my God, what’s going to happen if I do this?’ ” she said.

She depicted five hands spelling “unity” in sign language on the reverse side of the billboard.

Fiorito said she wanted to create a symbol of “resistance” with her piece.

“It’s more of a form of resistance, a form of protest,” she said. “I feel that I’m really just speaking for other people who might not be able to say anything, or speak out, or may not feel safe in doing so. Part of it, the back of it, is a call to unity. It’s a call for people who feel like they’re in the minority to come together.”


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