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Sean Hannity did a tweet and delete after he spotted a 'secret sperm' in Obama's portrait.

Sean Hannity did a tweet and delete after he spotted a 'secret sperm' in Obama's portrait.



The Daily Beast obtained a statement from Sean Hannity provided by Fox News: "Earlier today my web staff posted content that was not reviewed by me before publication. It does not reflect my voice and message and, therefore, I had it taken down."

BuzzFeed noted that the "secret sperm" theory was circulating on 4chan before Hannity's tweet.

Original article:


On Monday, the Obamas' presidential portraits were unveiled at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in D.C.

On Tuesday, Sean Hannity tweeted and deleted a link promoting a blog post on (also deleted) with the headline: "PORTRAIT PERVERSION: Obama Portrait Features 'SECRET SPERM,' Artist Joked About Killing Whitey.'"

The tweet didn't last long.

"The widening scandal surrounding former President Barack Obama's official portrait continued to swirl on Tuesday..." began the Hannity blog, and you're forgiven if you didn't know there was any scandal at all, let alone a widening one.

"...with shocking allegations the artist included 'secret sperm cells within the painting and once joked about 'Killing Whitey' during an interview."

According to the article, "industry insiders" claimed "the artist secretly inserted his trademark technique — concealing images of sperm within his paintings."

It included a zoomed in look at Obama's head in the portrait:

Hannity appears to have the clearest image of the portrait of anyone, since a quick look at Getty Images or the photos provided to LA Mag aren't high-def enough to zoom in that far and still maintain a good enough image quality to distinguish that sperm shape from the edge of Obama's hair.

Getty Images

What are Hannity's sperm spotting methods?

How did you spot the sperm, Hannity?

The internet was not thrilled with Hannity's turn as art critic.

The Hannity blog linked to a New York Times article citing the artist Kehinde Wiley's portrait style, quoting the expose which says his early style "initially depicted African-American men against rich textile or wallpaper backgrounds whose patterns he has likened to abstractions of sperm."

On the "kill whitey" front, the Hannity blog linked to a 2012 NY Mag interview about Wiley's work, citing the quote, "It’s sort of a play on the ‘kill whitey’ thing.”

Here's that quote in context:

In a soaring studio on the outskirts of Beijing, where Kehinde Wiley came in 2006 to set up the first of his several global production outposts, the 35-year-old painter is showing off his women. Most of them are still incomplete—their faces need touching up, their gowns (custom-designed for his models by Givenchy) lack texture. But one already stands out: a tall, elegant black woman in a long blue dress—the canvas is enormous, eight feet by ten feet—calmly staring down the viewer. In one hand, she holds a knife. In the other, a cleanly severed brunette female head. “It’s sort of a play on the ‘kill whitey’ thing,” Wiley says.

Subtle, I think. Not that Wiley’s work ever seems that subtle at first. Best known for his oversize portraits of young African-American men he finds on the street—“the boys,” he calls them—against florid wallpaperlike backdrops in poses lifted from old portraits of European gentry, Wiley has in a mere decade built a monster career around bright colors, big ideas, and a canvas the size of Earth itself, every person in every nation a potential subject. His series “The World Stage” makes that promise literal, as he globetrots from the favelas of Rio to the slums of Delhi, pulling charismatic-looking men into the studio for Renaissance-style tribute. And his newest portraits, for a show opening May 5 at Sean Kelly Gallery, constitute his first all-female exhibition and tackle no less grand a theme than the historic representation of women in art.

Just a slightly more nuanced interpretation than Hannity's.

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