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Culture Wars

Shepard Fairey's Studio Tagged with Anti-ACORN Graffiti

By Garance Franke-Ruta
So much for HOPE. That, at least, is the symbolic message sent by an anti-ACORN activist or group that targeted Studio Number One in Los Angeles, the commercial design studio of Obama HOPE poster creator Shepard Fairey, with anti-ACORN graffiti.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now has drawn conservative wrath this month after hidden-camera videographers taped its workers giving housing and other advice to a couple purporting to be a pimp and a prostitute. The White House quickly backed away from the group in the wake of the video sting, first published on new conservative Web site, with the House on Thursday voting to cut federal funding for the group.

The anonymous anti-ACORN activist or activists tried to link the anti-poverty group to the man who helped create the iconic image of the Obama campaign by targeting his studio with an image of the ACORN logo beneath the words "ACORN Funded Prostitution Zone."

Studio Number One does not receive any funds from the government, according to a spokesman, and does no work for ACORN.

"While we support free expression, it is ironic that...the conservatives and right-wingers who called pro-Obama art propaganda and if it was posted publicly, they called it vandalism, are now vandalizing private property in their campaign against ACORN," said Jay Strell, a spokesman for Studio Number One and Fairey. The graffiti has been removed, he added.

But maybe turnabout is fair play. Fairey, after all, gained fame as a street artist who used stenciled graffiti art to spread his inscrutable "Obey" images.

Last week, Fairey's partner on the HOPE poster campaign, Yosi Sergant, was reassigned from his job as communications director for the National Endowment for Art after coming under fire from FOX News host Glenn Beck.

Posted at 7:23 PM ET on Sep 18, 2009  | Category:  Culture Wars
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Did some of you apologists see the videos??? Are you kidding me? This isn't politics, it's immorality and corruption. Let's at least agree on this. If we can't agree on blatant corruption, we'll lose our country.

Posted by: lovetoreadalways | September 21, 2009 6:31 PM

Some conservatives are clearly suffering from "ACORN Derangement Syndrome". This is just their latest grand conspiracy theory.

The real reason ACORN is so hated by the right-wing is that ACORN has been successful in their work. Republicans especially hate ACORN for registering many poor people to vote; many of them black and Latino. Conservatives hate it when poor people vote. Especially if those poor people aren't white.

This vandalism reminds me of those young Nazis who painted "Jude" and the Star of David on the homes and stores owned by Jewish citizens.

It's sick and sickening.

Posted by: snesich | September 21, 2009 11:19 AM

I seem to have run into this rather late in the day (late Sunday afternoon), but it seems to me...the use of the words 'activist or activists' a rather fishy description.
I quote from the article: an image of the ACORN logo beneath the words "ACORN Funded Prostitution Zone." Studio Number One does not receive any funds from the government, according to a spokesman, and does no work for ACORN.

Now, either said activist(s) are abysmally ignorant or abysmally hate-filled. Shepard Fairey engaged in graffitti before but does no work for ACORN...only among those who fear conspiracy or those intending to stir up the angry and unthinking might this idea fly...and I suspect malevolence rather than insanity was the

Why call the person(s) who did this activist(s), unless you figure it's "tit-for-tat" and Fairey 'deserved it' or you are afraid of the perpetrators. If the perpetrators were street artists/activists, I doubt very much the WA Post would fear such folks....

This is either bad reporting or a political/economic viewpoint, and either way it smells.

Posted by: carolc1 | September 20, 2009 7:47 PM

This is all about raw politics. There are so many non-profits, church-run organizations that over the years have been criticized --shown to abuse children, they come under scrutiny-- but never heard the quick move by Congress to defund them. Think, many such organizations are in neighborhoods near you.

But Acorn is reaching the grass roots, the least among us and last year did a very good job-- apparently, of registering voters. So the word from the underground stop them. That is politics. Acorn has been out there long before Obama or his presidency.

Republican administrations have worked with them on other levels. Just cannot believe that people would go this far to show dislike/disagreement. When will the adult among us grow up?

Posted by: Victoria5 | September 20, 2009 1:29 PM

Sigh, amusing as this is, I'm surprised that the Post would allow itself to be taken in by such an easily refuted photoshop.

Zoom in by, oh, 400% or so and the moire effect becomes immediately apparent.

Cute, but fake (too bad).

Posted by: home6 | September 20, 2009 12:42 PM

It's sort of like how conservatives condemned liberals for blaming the murder of Dr. George Tiller on conservatives; but far fewer blamed the murderer for killing Dr. Tiller. Many seemed rather happy about it.

Posted by: nodebris | September 20, 2009 1:25 AM

"Nodebris, you truly are ignorant to blame conservatives right off the bat."

Would I be truly ignorant to blame conservatives for defending the perpetrators? Because I'm reading these comments, and I've seen 1 conservative express dismay and the rest cheer.

Posted by: nodebris | September 20, 2009 1:23 AM

There is no hope for ACORN.

As for the new ACORN promos, I just thought those were new PSAs, as posted in "Prostitution: Do it for the Children. (An ACORN Public Service Announcement)" at

Posted by: FireBreather | September 20, 2009 12:44 AM

The Acorn employees were openly counseling tax evasion and concealing income. While some may say that lawyers and tax advisers do the same for the rich, this practice is illegal no matter who does it. Recently the IRS has successfully concluded a case against UBS and thousands of depositors who perhaps were hiding income abroad. The same standards should be applied to Acorn. I believe the IRS should start an investigation of Acorn's offices to determine if tax evasion advice was a regular practice. This is not a matter to be taken lightly.

Posted by: ejhickey | September 19, 2009 10:55 PM

Are these same wackos going to start going after the religious organizations that help poor people? Something tells me that won't happen.

The advise ACORN reps were giving out was not much different from the guidance someone with money might get from a lawyer with one big exception. The same guidance from a lawyer would be held in the highest privileged.

Lets face it, the real reason these people are on the war path for ACORN is the one one that is unspoken. ACORN assists those of the lowest socio-economic status and racial minorities.

While I am at it, let me point out that I believe "socialist" is being used these days as nothing more than a euphemism for anyone or anything that is at all sympathetic or beneficial to people who are poor, urban, or non-white. The justification that is used on the surface appears to range in quality from utter fabrication and exaggeration to flat out nuts.

To the people irrationally opposing Obama and ACORN "socialism" is the new black.

Posted by: rumspring | September 19, 2009 9:16 PM

Payback, ain't it a pain?

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | September 19, 2009 7:52 PM

"ACORN helps poor people find homes. No wonder the misanthropic money worshipping tea baggers hate them so much."

I'm a pretty liberal guy. But I'm not an ACORN fan.

They opened up shop here in DC, on Capitol Hill, on Barracks Row. An area that was just beginning to recover from decades of high crime, public housing, etc.

They instantly set about making enemies, haranguing locals for supposedly not caring enough about the poor (when actually it's a VERY liberal area, but even liberals want the high crime rates to drop, and even liberals are sick of public housing as it's been for decades).

They were arrogant, rude, confrontational, and generally just bad neighbors.

And their ideology is unsound. Yes, it's great to empower the poor. But rather than just fighting to help the poor, they also continue to defend limitless public housing and welfare, which is the cause of much of the urban poverty and crime we see currently.

Posted by: Hillman1 | September 19, 2009 7:26 PM

I believe similar organizations have the word redevelopment in their name...

Posted by: DwightCollins | September 19, 2009 4:49 PM


A Conservative's Only Recourse:


Posted by: trippin | September 19, 2009 4:17 PM

Goes to judgement-

Wall Street Journal 10/14/08

"...Which brings us to Mr. Obama, who got his start as a Chicago "community organizer" at Acorn's side. In 1992 he led voter registration efforts as the director of Project Vote, which included Acorn. This past November, he lauded Acorn's leaders for being "smack dab in the middle" of that effort. Mr. Obama also served as a lawyer for Acorn in 1995, in a case against Illinois to increase access to the polls.

During his tenure on the board of Chicago's Woods Fund, that body funneled more than $200,000 to Acorn. More recently, the Obama campaign paid $832,000 to an Acorn affiliate. The campaign initially told the Federal Election Commission this money was for "staging, sound, lighting." It later admitted the cash was to get out the vote."


Ny Times 9/18/09

"But never has (Mr. O'Keefe's) work had anything like the impact of the Acorn exposé, conducted by Mr. O’Keefe and a friend he met through Facebook, 20-year-old Hannah Giles. Their travels in the gaudy guise of pimp and prostitute through various offices of Acorn, the national community organizing group, caught its low-level employees in five cities sounding eager to assist with tax evasion, human smuggling and child prostitution.
What began as a firestorm on conservative talk shows spread across the news media and to both parties in Congress, as Mr. O’Keefe and Ms. Giles unveiled videos of more cities where Acorn workers had misbehaved. Jon Stewart, whose “Daily Show” on Comedy Central leans to the left, highlighted the videos, and a House proposal to cut off all federal money to Acorn passed Thursday by a vote of 345 to 75."

Posted by: thecannula | September 19, 2009 3:14 PM

Apalling depravity. The right wingers do NOT know Christ.

Posted by: rooster54 | September 19, 2009 2:34 PM

ACORN helps poor people find homes. No wonder the misanthropic money worshipping tea baggers hate them so much.

ACORN has been constantly harrassed. The devil tempts, then the devil acts as an accuser once he has succeeded in presuading his victims to take the bait. This is the example of the right wing haters and their ancient form of evil.

When I saw this ridiculous plot against ACORN and the people they try to help I logged on their website and sent them a donation. I hope others will.

Shame on the right wingnuts. It's not enough for them to ignore the needy, they're so evil that they actually plot against those in need. Appaling depravity! They do now know Christ.

Posted by: rooster54 | September 19, 2009 2:33 PM

So this is the contribution of fixxed news and these fringe ideologues? Hurt yourself and the rest the world. You all can't compete under normal conditions - so you want to drag the rest of the world to your mediocre and unhappy level.

Senator McCarthy: I know this hurts you, Mr. Welch.

Mr. Welch: I'll say it hurts!

Senator McCarthy: Mr. Chairman, as point of personal privilege, I'd like to finish this.

Mr. Welch: Senator, I think it hurts you, too, sir.

ACORN does good work with paltry resources.

Posted by: mikeVA1 | September 19, 2009 2:22 PM

So this is the contribution of fixxed news and these fringe ideologues? Hurt yourself and the rest the world. You all can't compete under normal conditions - so you want to drag the rest of the world to your mediocre and unhappy level.

Senator McCarthy: I know this hurts you, Mr. Welch.

Mr. Welch: I'll say it hurts!

Senator McCarthy: Mr. Chairman, as point of personal privilege, I'd like to finish this.

Mr. Welch: Senator, I think it hurts you, too, sir.

ACORN does good work with paltry resources. They put quality controls in place.

Posted by: mikeVA1 | September 19, 2009 2:13 PM

Will someone PLEASE state how many millions of taxpayers $$$ go to LEGITIMATE organizations such as the Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels,Habitat for Humanity( or any number of NON CRIMINAL enterprises)????
And then explain why ONE PENNY of taxpayer $$$ goes to acorn???

Posted by: Sneemdream1 | September 19, 2009 1:51 PM

I'm still reeling from the fact that Fairey's partner, Sergant lost his job just because Glenn Beck criticized him. This follows the Glenn Beck-fueled resignation of Van Jones. What next? The satirical National Inquisition suggests "Glenn Beck Fires Entire White House Staff." http//

Posted by: Hungerartist | September 19, 2009 1:17 PM

This is unfortunate. Vandals don't speak for 99.99% of those who appose Obama's socialist agenda... but at least they didn't try to blow the place up... that would have been the method of choice of some of Obama's buddies... after all... both Osama and Obama have friends who bombed the Pentago.

Posted by: FRedStatescom | September 19, 2009 12:43 PM

ACORN: Assisting Call-girls, Obama, Reid, and Nancy

Posted by: PositiveSum | September 19, 2009 11:51 AM


Posted by: rdonrichardson | September 19, 2009 11:30 AM


Your rant kind of swerves around, but I think it is aimed at conservatives.
The reason you can't understand the connection between Fairey and ACORN would be because you probably rely on the Post for your information. They never reported that the White House has approached the National Endowment of the Arts for propaganda.

Yosi Sargent (Faireys partner) was implicated in heading up this communication and was magically reassigned after word got out.

ACORN receives government money for the Nefarious deeds they perform..

NEA (Shepards partner and probably Shepard)
Are getting tax payer dollars to provide pro Obama agenda propaganda.

On second thought, your right. These really are two "local and obscure incidents", hardly worth reporting.

That would be why the WashPo didn't report these things.

Posted by: chicagotrauma | September 19, 2009 11:22 AM

ACORN: Child "Services" / Financial "Services" / "Voter" Registration --Democrat Funded

Posted by: PositiveSum | September 19, 2009 11:21 AM


Nodebris, you truly are ignorant to blame conservatives right off the bat. This was probably perpetrated by Leftists if history serves...

Obama joker courtesy of a Kucinich Fan...

Colorado DNC break in courtesy of SEIU paid operative...

Get your head out of the sand....

Posted by: chicagotrauma | September 19, 2009 11:07 AM

Can somebody explain the connection between Fairey's studio and ACORN? These thugs have lost their minds; you can't even talk straight with these people anymore. It's as if they have gorged on a pile of red meat thrown at them by the nefarious elements in the propaganda unit of militant conservative tenet while washing it down with a bucket from the same poisoned well that a few talking heads managed to piss in. Their agenda is lucidly clear: the total destruction of this country because no opposing view is acceptable. The way conservative mentality works is to take on a local and obscure incident and make it into a national crisis then kick his feet like a disgruntled child until the grown ups around him can no longer dismiss his unfounded hysteria and misplaced rage. Every piffle is magnified by the infinity and every sneeze morphs into a bizarre conspiratorial theory that would somehow end the civilization as we know it.

Posted by: quoxi | September 19, 2009 9:29 AM

seems to me they did it to themselves to protray themselves as victims of a witchhunt...

Posted by: DwightCollins | September 19, 2009 9:25 AM

So how's that NEA money working for you obummernuts? Oh yeah - - you don't know about it because WaPo hasn't covered it. It seems that the NEA has been recruiting (with taxpayer dollars) "artists" to further the obummer agenda. Conference calls have laid out the purpose, but are playing with some appropriate and 'legal' language to cover their scheme. Yup - - that "change" is morphing the USA right into Fidel's Cuba - - where all you are left with is 'hope'.

Posted by: segeny | September 19, 2009 8:34 AM

The conservative miscreant (pardon my redundancy) should be easy to catch. Just look for the brown shirt.

Posted by: Garak | September 19, 2009 8:26 AM

It's Art, baby! Transgressive, provocative, daring Art! Let's see some more ART!

Posted by: JohnSkookum | September 19, 2009 7:54 AM

Where is the photo? The issue of quality was not addressed here, yet a very important aspect of this story. someone taking a can of spray paint and hastily scrawling words on a wall is different than an actual graffiti 'artist' planning and painting something in an artistic manner.

Posted by: pat_riot | September 19, 2009 4:11 AM

It's not vandalism -- it's art!

Posted by: conversefive | September 19, 2009 3:26 AM

Really classy, GOP. Right about your speed, that.

Posted by: nodebris | September 19, 2009 1:14 AM

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