The National Archives Apologizes For Altering An Image Of The 2017 Women's March

by Julie Scagell
2017 Women's March Pennsylvania Avenue
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Women’s March signs that were altered will be replaced with their original versions

Officials of the National Archives have admitted that they blurred out certain signs from an image of the 2017 Women’s March that contained anti-Trump messages and ones that contained the words “vagina” and “pussy.” They have since apologized.

According to the Washington Post, changes to a photo displayed in an archives exhibit marking the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage included blocking out the name “Trump” both in a sign that read “God Hates Trump” to instead read “God Hates” and in another sign that originally read “Trump & GOP — Hands Off Women.”

Words on other signs referring to the female anatomy were also altered. The word “vagina” was taken out of a sign reading, “If my vagina could shoot bullets, it’d be less regulated,” and the word “pussy” was removed from another sign that read, “This Pussy Grabs Back.” At least four signs were purposely changed by the federal agency that calls itself “the nation’s record keeper,” according to the Washington Post.

“As a non-partisan, non-political federal agency, we blurred references to the President’s name on some posters, so as not to engage in current political controversy,” archives spokeswoman Miriam Kleiman said in a statement. “Our mission is to safeguard and provide access to the nation’s most important federal records, and our exhibits are one way in which we connect the American people to those records. Modifying the image was an attempt on our part to keep the focus on the records.”

Washington Post reporter Joe Heim originally noticed the altered signs after visiting the Archives and comparing them to the original sign’s photo.

Once the news broke, however, the agency spoke out about the alterations, apologizing for doing so and promising to right their wrongs.

“We made a mistake,” the National Archives said on its Twitter account, admitting, “we obscured some words on protest signs in a photo of the 2017 Women’s March.” They continued: “This photo is not an archival record held by the @usnatarchives, but one we licensed to use as a promotional graphic. Nonetheless, we were wrong to alter the image.”

The annual Women’s March has been ongoing since January 2017 in response to President Donald Trump’s inauguration in Washington D.C. and has spread to other U.S. cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and others.

The agency said it will replace the altered signs from the inaugural 2017 Women’s March with the original signs’ wording. “We apologize, and will immediately start a thorough review of our exhibit policies and procedures so that this does not happen again,” the thread concluded.

The Archives did not say when the photo will return to its original form, only that they will do so “as soon as possible.”