AP accuses Shepard Fairey of more lying [Updated]
The Associated Press today accused Shepard Fairey of lying again in their ongoing fair-use legal battle, saying that the artist's allegations that he made a "mistake" about which photograph he used to create the Obama "HOPE" poster are not credible.
In an amendment to its countersuit filed today in a New York court, the AP claimed that "it is simply not credible that Fairey somehow forgot in January 2009 which source image he used to create" the work in question. The AP added that it believes Fairey concocted his version of events to "spin" his subsequent cover-up in the best light possible.
On Friday, Fairey said he was "mistaken" about which photograph he used as the inspiration for the poster. "While I initially believed that the photo I referenced was a different one, I discovered early on in the case that I was wrong," he said in a statement.
In the same statement, Fairey admitted that he sent false images and deleted other images to conceal his mistake.
Laura Malone, a lawyer for the AP, said in a statement today that Fairey filed his court claims "apparently without first investigating the relevant records as one would have expected him to do, making the idea that he made a genuine ‘mistake’ even more suspect."
A spokesman for the artist did not have an immediate response to the AP's accusations.
As part of today's amendment, the AP said it has added Obey Clothing -- a brand launched by Fairey -- as a defendant in its counterclaim.
The AP said it has recently obtained evidence that contradicts Fairey's claims that he has not profited from use of the AP image.
Fairey has stated that regardless of which images he used for the poster, "the fair use issue should be the same."
[Updated at 3:34 p.m.] A spokesman for Fairey issued a statement this afternoon in response to the AP's claims. “Shepard continues to stand by his statement from last Friday. He has apologized and taken responsibility for his actions," said the spokesman.
He added that the AP is "diverting the debate from the central question," which is whether Fairey transformed the original photographic image into a work of art.
-- David Ng
Photo: a juxtaposition of an AP photo of Barack Obama and the poster by Shepard Fairey. Credit: Mannie Garcia / Associated Press