A Pittsburgh Republican anti-lockdown demonstrator was falsely depicted holding a sign with a white supremacist slogan after attending an anti-lockdown protest last month.
The lie: Former New Yorker writer Talia Lavin posted a picture of an April 20 demonstration in Pittsburgh, protesting Gov. Tom Wolf’s nearly two-month-long stay-at-home order and shutdown of nonessential businesses.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette photographer Andrew Rush attended the rally and posted pictures of the event on Twitter.
One of the pictures Lavin shared on her Twitter account features Jill Cooper of Murrysville, a longtime conservative activist and Trump supporter, holding a sign that read: “Work Sets You Free,” the English translation of the German slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” that is displayed over the entrance of the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp.
The truth: Independent Oregon journalist Andy Ngo, however, revealed that Lavin’s photo was doctored and posted the original photo showing Cooper holding a sign that actually read: “Free Small Business.”
“This sign in Pittsburgh was doctored & circulated online to have a Nazi concentration camp slogan. Real photo on the right by photographer Andrew Rush. People are working overdrive to smear all “reopen America” protesters as fascists. When they can’t find them, they create them,” Ngo wrote.
The media can make you stupid and we’re working hard to be an antidote. If you agree, tell a friend to check out LaCorte News!
Journalist and far-right expert, Talia Lavin, doing what she does best. pic.twitter.com/LWKmOeKcDK
— Andy Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) May 2, 2020
Hundreds of protestors outside the City County Building in Pittsburgh supporting the opening of non-life sustaining businesses pic.twitter.com/BobJhx1XYv
— Andrew Rush (@andrewrush) April 20, 2020
It is unclear who altered Rush’s photo.
Responding to the doctored picture, Cooper said, “I felt violated when I saw the photo. I couldn’t believe that someone would blatantly doctor a photo of me to make me appear as a Nazi supporter. How evil. What has world come too [sic] if you lie and distort to get your false message out about Trump supporters and OPEN PA protesters. I am just furious.”