Outspoken advocate for marginalized straight white cisgender males in America, Sen. Josh Hawley, was just slapped with a cease and desist letter from Politico demanding he quit using a photo it owns on his campaign merch.
The photo was taken by Francis Chung on January 6, 2021, shortly before the deadly insurrection. Hawley greeted protestors as he was walking into the U.S. Capitol with his fist raised high in the air. The image has since become an emblem of that dark day.
Last month, the anti-LGBTQ senator’s reelection campaign started peddling ceramic coffee mugs featuring the controversial photo along with the words “Show Me Strong” for $20 a pop. Since then, it has also begun selling beer koozies and t-shirts emblazoned with the image.
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“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 said this week. “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.”
Hawley’s spokesperson Kyle Plotkin told E&E News that the campaign hasn’t received any letter and insists its use of the photo is “in full compliance with the law,” though he declined to answer whether the campaign paid to license the image. (We’re guessing it didn’t if Politico sent a cease and desist letter.)
Last month, Hawley insisted the campaign merch “is not a pro-riot mug”, telling HuffPost, “At the time that we were out there, folks were gathered peacefully to protest, and they have a right to do that. They do not have a right to assault cops.”
Now, some tweets…
— OnBakerStreet444 (@OnBakerStreet4) March 14, 2022
JUST IN: Politico just sent a cease-and-desist letter to Josh Hawley, demanding that he stops selling mugs, koozies, and t-shirts with their January 6 photo of him cheering on violent insurrectionists who attacked cops.
He’s selling it right next to “back the blue” merch. pic.twitter.com/GdWiOyffge
— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) March 14, 2022
Josh Hawley profiting off selling mugs, etc. in support of 1/6 insurrection on par for QGOP. Extreme disrespect for democracy, police officers who protected them,etc. The question is why are states electing people who don’t work to better democracy? Shameful behavior.
— Concetta (@concettamon1) March 15, 2022
In addition to being totally despicable, it turns out Josh Hawley may also walk on the wild side of law and order. Does Hawley own the intellectual property rights for the mug he is selling? pic.twitter.com/gdrhGA2LdR
— JOSEPH STIPANOVICH (@stipanoj2) March 15, 2022
Of course he stole it, conservatives are thieves https://t.co/KUhKkFeoVK
— Mercer Creed ? (@MercerCreed) March 15, 2022
I applaud Politico. It’s interesting how Republicans feel the need to enrich themselves from something so vile as an insurrection against their own govt.
— 🌊🌊BH2020🌊🌊 (@DPanigale18) March 14, 2022
Graham Gremore is the Features Editor and a Staff Writer at Queerty. Follow him on Twitter @grahamgremore.