By Alan Gordon
President Barack Obama has been out of office for more than a year, but he still possesses the power to drive right-wingers into conspiracy-laden frenzies.
Earlier this week Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama revealed their official portraits. But that alone was enough to bring the racists and conspiracy theorists out.
America’s leading conspiracy theorist Alex Jones claims the Obama portrait, featuring the former president in a background of green vegetation, had a hidden message.
“The green vegetation was a message to potheads. Obama will legalize weed, when he returns to power,” said Jones on his show “InfoWars. “Also, green is the color of Islam.”
However, according to Time magazine, Kehinde Wiley, the artist who created the portrait, used green Arabian jasmine plants which are native to Obama’s birthplace, Hawaii.
“Wiley stripped away the trappings of office in order to depict the former President’s life journey. African blue lilies are a nod to Obama’s father’s home country of Kenya. Chrysanthemums are the official flower of the city of Chicago, where Obama met his wife Michelle and started both his family and political career. Pikake, or Arabian jasmine, thrives in Hawaii, where the President spent much of his youth,” said writer Maya Rhodan.
FOX News commentator Sean Hannity promoted an even more outlandish theory. He claimed that Obama’s portrait contained semen.
Raw Story reported, “The Hannity article said that the purported sperm in the Obama painting was part of a ‘shocking’ and ‘widening scandal’ about the portrait. In addition to painting the supposed sperm, notes the Hannity article, Kehinde Wiley has in the past made jokes about ‘killing Whitey.’”
Hannity later deleted the article from his website.
“Earlier today my web staff posted content that was not reviewed by me before publication. It does not reflect my voice and message and, therefore, I had it taken down,” said Hannity in an apology.