The original photographer behind a picture of a woman at a protest whose sign was photo-shopped to read ‘my legs are open for refugees’ has attacked Nigel Farage for sharing the image.
By – jessicaemckay
Canadian digital reporter Lasia Kretzel blasted the former Ukip-leader in a Twitter thread, saying: ‘If you’re going to criticize something, please make sure what you’re distributing is authentic.’ The real image was taken during a Syrian refugee support rally in Saskatoon, in Saskatchewan, Canada, and the sign actually read: ‘My door is open for refugees’.
Mr Farage shared the altered image on Saturday, apparently believing it was genuine. Mr Farage did not state where or when he believed the photo was taken, but protests against US president Donald Trump have been raging in the UK for the past few days while he has been visiting the country.
1) I am the original photographer of this image which was edited, subsequently retweeted by you, and has since removed from your feed. Here are the real facts of this photograph. pic.twitter.com/Tu59dMtkNt
— Lasia Kretzel (@lkretzel1130) July 16, 2018
In the tweet, which has since been deleted, Mr Farage branded the fake sign ‘an insult to the victims of sexual abuse in Cologne and rape in Malmö’. The tweet is an apparent reference to mass sexual assaults which took place on New Year’s Eve 2015/16 in Cologne, in which an estimated 1,200 women were targeted, and which German officials linked to ‘rapid migration’. Mr Farage has repeatedly claimed that the high level of rapes in urban Sweden are linked to migrants, but the country does not publish details about the ethnicity or national background of perpetrators of any crime. When he was pulled up on the fact that the image was fake, Mr Farage took it down, saying: ‘The photograph turns out to be Fake News, but the refugees welcome brigade need to think harder about what is happening.’ Many were unsatisfied with his response – including Labour MP Stella Creasy.
You posted a fake photo, created by an extremist, that sexualized and attempted to slut-shame a woman for welcoming refugees, and THEY’RE the ones who need to think harder? What the fuck is wrong with you?
— Kelly Ellis (@justkelly_ok) July 14, 2018
Now, the original photographer has waded into the debate to outline ‘the real facts of the photograph’. In a thread, Ms Kretzel explained that she took the picture when she was working for a Saskatoon-based media outlet, writing a story about a local rally in support of Canada bringing in Syrian refugees. A woman – who Ms Kretzel did not know – was wearing a pre-made Amnesty International sign in the shape of a door hanger which read ”my door is open for refugees.’
‘Unbeknownst to me, the photo was then taken, edited (poorly) and redistributed around the internet for various unrelated, primarily anti-immigration propaganda. This is a poor and hastily done editing job, which I hope you [i.e. Mr Farage] could recognize,’ Ms Kretzel said. She added that the photo – whether edited or in its original form – ‘has nothing to do with Cologne, Malmö, sex, sexual abuse, or rape, nor does it indicate so’. ‘If you’re going to criticize something, please make sure what you’re distributing is authentic. As a fellow broadcaster, I think you owe it to the public to publish correct information, to apologize, and set the record straight when an error is made,’ she said. She also called out American actor James Woods, who also shared the fake image alongside the caption ‘finally, a real solution to stop illegal immigration’.
Read more: From 2018/05/16