Newseum apologizes for selling ‘fake news’ T-shirts
The directors of the Newseum in Washington, D.C., have apologized and taken down shirts bearing the slogan “You Are Very Fake News” after facing widespread public backlash for the merchandise on Friday.
A Saturday statement on the Newseum’s website noted that the shirt would be removed from the museum’s gift shop and online store, and apologized for selling the shirt, which bears President Trump’s popular derision aimed at members of the news media.
“The Newseum has removed the ‘You Are Very Fake News’ T-shirts from the gift shop and online. We made a mistake and we apologize,” the statement reads. “A free press is an essential part of our democracy and journalists are not the enemy of the people,” it continued, referencing another insult the president has lobbed at the press in order to discredit their reporting.
The Newseum, which also stocks Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” hats, defended its decision to carry the hats and other political merchandise.
“As an organization that celebrates the rights of people from all political spectrums to express themselves freely, we’ve historically made all types of political merchandise available for our guests to purchase,” the statement read.
“That has included former and current presidential slogans and imagery and merchandise from all political parties. We continue to do so in celebration of freedom of speech.”
A Newseum spokesperson initially defended the decision to sell the shirts under the premise of celebrating different viewpoints, even ones the press finds offensive.
“As a nonpartisan organization people with differing viewpoints feel comfortable visiting the Newseum, and one of our greatest strengths is that we’re champions not only of a free press, but also of free speech,” the Newseum told The Hill on Friday.
The president often attacks the media as “fake news” in tweets and during campaign rallies, inciting his supporters to follow suit. The frequent insults have resulted in reporters being booed and jeered at campaign rallies, particularly, of late, CNN reporter Jim Acosta.