After heat from religious groups and Republicans in Congress including Virginia Representative Eric Cantor, the Smithsonian has removed a graphic video from its current exhibit of gay portraiture.
NPR reports that the Smithsonian has removed the video “A Fire In My Belly” from its National Portrait Gallery after complaints from the Catholic League regarding imagery of a crucified Jesus covered in ants – calling it hate speech.
The 1987 video by artist David Wojnarowicz represents the emotion he experienced losing his partner to AIDS. The video is publicly available on YouTube and shows the graphic imagery of the cross and a man fondling his penis – it is not safe for work.
Cantor is quoted calling the exhibition “an outrageous use of taxpayer money.” The Catholic League cites the use of public funding to assault religion.
The exhibit, Hide/Seek, is on display at the National Portrait Gallery through mid-February.