A gay rights inspired adaptation of the famous image of Marines raising the flag over Iwo Jima in 1945 is sparking outrage following the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage nation-wide.
The image — of four muscular, skin-baring men raising the rainbow flag posed like the Marines at Iwo Jima — was taken some ten years ago and appeared on a gay magazine, but was recirculated last week following the Supreme Court decision.
Twitter is in an uproar.
And dont compare gay marriage to the Marines who fought and died in Iwo Jima. The two events are not comparable pic.twitter.com/rqwtR2eoHh
— Paulie Walnuts (@PAULme_maybe69) July 1, 2015
Replacing the soldiers on Iwo Jima standing up the American flag with the gay pride flag is disrespectful
— Mitchell Moyers (@m_moyers8) July 1, 2015
They really recreated the Iwo Jima flag with the gay flag. Just stop
— Evan Moriyama (@AsMoriyama) July 1, 2015
6821 people died in Iwo Jima,over 19,000 wounded.Apparently that ain’t nothi compared to gay people’s struggle huh
— AmericanMuscle (@MrFakeDope) July 1, 2015
— Rosebud (@Murba1515) June 30, 2015
The Washington Post highlighted the outcry Wednesday, recalling the bloody operation that spurred to the first iconic photo taken on February 23, 1945 by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal. Three of the Marines pictured were killed in combat, among the nearly 7,000 other Americans who died on Iwo Jima. Another 20,000 American troops were wounded.
The photographer of the gay rights image, Ed Freeman, The Post reports, has received hate mail, backlash on social media, and at least one death threat since the image went viral.
“He said if he ever saw me, he’d kill me,” Freeman told The Post. “I got swamped with vitriolic hate mail.”
Freeman received disapproving responses to his when he posted on Facebook that Friday, “When I took this picture almost ten years ago, it never, never occurred to me that it would someday come to symbolize the victory we are celebrating today. Congratulations to all of us! Love to you all.”
Freeman told The Post that he did not intend for the image to be disrespectful and chalked the outrage up to people’s frustration with the Supreme Court decision.
“The principle complaint that people have is that I am equating the gay struggle with the contribution and sacrifice of American servicemen,” Freeman said. “But there is no equal sign here. This is not meant as a sign of disrespect. For God sake, no. I totally support people in uniform. There is no comparison going on here. The comparison is going on in people’s heads, and they’re spoiling for a fight. They’re already on edge because of the gay marriage decision.”