Politico demands Hawley stop using Jan. 6 photo on campaign mug
Politico is demanding Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) stop using a controversial photo taken last year by a journalist at a publication it owns on his campaign merchandise.
The photo, taken by E&E News photographer Francis Chung, shows Hawley walking to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, with his fist raised in the air. The image was shared widely by critics who interpreted it as a sign of approval for the protesters who had gathered in the area before a riot took place at the Capitol later that day.
Last month, Hawley’s reelection campaign began selling ceramic coffee mugs emblazoned with the photo and the words “Show Me Strong” for $20.
“We do not authorize its use by the Hawley campaign for the purpose of political fundraising, which the campaign has been put on notice of by legal counsel,” a spokesperson for Politico told The Hill on Monday. “We are eagerly awaiting a response, but in the interim again respectfully ask that the campaign immediately cease and desist unauthorized use of the image.”
Politico purchased E&E News in December.
A representative for Hawley’s campaign did not immediately return a request for comment, but spokesperson Kyle Plotkin told E&E News that the senator’s campaign had not received the letter.
“We haven’t received any correspondence from POLITICO or anyone else, but we are in full compliance with the law,” Plotkin said. “Perhaps POLITICO can show us the correspondence they sent to the many liberal groups who also used the photo.”
A day after his campaign began selling the mugs, sparking widespread backlash from critics, Hawley said the merchandise “is not a pro-riot mug.”
“At the time that we were out there, folks were gathered peacefully to protest, and they have a right to do that,” Hawley said. “They do not have a right to assault cops.”