NRA Nuts Are Sharing a Fake Photo of Parkland’s Emma Gonzales ‘Ripping The Constitution’
Doctored images of Parkland shooting survivor Emma González tearing the U.S. Constitution in half have been circulating in some circles of the American right over the weekend. The fakes were based on an image and GIF from a Teen Vogue feature on González and her classmates which showed her ripping up a gun target poster. The color of González’s face was also changed in the fake photograph to create dark circles around her eyes.
González, 18, has been a target for NRA supporters, appearing in newspapers, on magazine covers and in a prominent spot at the anchor rally in Washington, where her speech, which included a prolonged silence, lasted as long as the six minutes it took a gunman at her high school in Parkland, Fla., to kill 17 people on Valentine’s Day.
The malicious attack against Gonzales, using a doctored image, bounced around conservative Twitter before it received a signal boost Saturday from actor Adam Baldwin.
He tweeted to a quarter of a million followers with a hashtag reading “#Vorwärts!,” the German word for “forward” and an apparent reference to the Hitler Youth, whose march song included the word.
Gab, the Twitter-like social network that is a popular refuge for the alt-right, tweeted the animation on Saturday to more than 100,000 followers, then hours later asserted it was “satire.” It racked up more than 1,200 retweets. The still images, looking more sophisticated than the glitchy animation, went further, appearing to be taken as legitimate by some conservative-minded Twitter users.
The pushback seems to have gained more traction than the original images, although that means the original images are also spread wider. Donald Moynihan, a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, debunked the altered image, saying in a tweet: “Just a sample of what NRA supporters are doing to teenagers who survived a massacre (real picture on the right),” referencing a user named “Linda NRA Supporter” who posted the photo and whose account has since been suspended. It garnered more than 65,000 retweets.
González posed recently along with other Parkland classmates for a Teen Vogue cover photo shoot. The photos that were taken for the magazine depict the teens standing and glaring at the camera tenaciously as González holds and then tears up a sheet of paper emblazoned with a circular target, as the gif in the tweet below shows.
"In just a few weeks’ time, we, the youth of the United States, have built a new movement to denounce gun violence and call for safety in all of our communities. And this is only the beginning." #EmmaGonzalez writes our March cover story — a rallying cry for all of America's children. Link in bio. 📽: @tylersphotos Makeup: @gracegraceahn Styling: @cocostyle1 Hair: @rubi_jones
Once the images from the photo shoot began to circulate, some NRA-inspired wingnut decided to steal the images to create his alternate reality version of the pictures, photoshopping in the Constitution where the target was to illustrate their opinion on how the Parkland students’ campaign to prevent further needless assault rifle massacres was an attack on what they see as their 2nd Amendment rights to own as many weapons of war and mass destruction as they want.
I'm interested to hear what US citizens think of this photo where Emma Gonzalez is ripping up The Constitution? pic.twitter.com/B5HTNKuRqV
— LΞIGH (@LeighStewy) March 24, 2018
While one has to admire the Photoshop skills of the person who altered the original images (it isn’t easy filling in an uneven, irregularly-shaped object like that paper), the dishonesty of the NRA-loving, probable Russian troll who circulated the fake picture is as immoral as the cause that they are supporting.
Luckily, a sharp-eyed professor saw the phony photo and pointed out the fraudulent nature of the shot in a side by side comparison with the original.
Justy a sample of what NRA supporters are doing to teenagers who survived a massacre (real picture on the right). pic.twitter.com/czX7IHD8ur
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) March 25, 2018
Despite the vicious and hateful propaganda, Emma González and the other Parkland teens are determined to continue their #NeverAgain crusade, and riding the wave of yesterday’s March For Our Lives, they have a momentum with a velocity that the NRA and its testosterone-filled followers will have a difficult time stopping, no matter how low they stoop.