Fox News host Sean Hannity has expressed outrage at the recently unveiled portrait of former President of the United States Barack Obama.
Barack and Michelle Obama's official portraits were revealed at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC on Monday 12 February. The pieces are colourful and unconventional works that challenge the staid and traditional format of Presidential portraiture.
Some right-wing commentators were unhappy at the depictions and the choices of the artists. Sean Hannity chose to complain about a sperm motif.
A since-deleted post on Hannity's website claimed that the artist behind the portrait of the former President:
included ‘secret sperm cells’ within the painting and once joked about ‘Killing Whitey’ during an interview.
The sperm cell was alleged to have been hidden in a vein in Obama's temple in the portrait:
Sean Hannity's website claims the Obama portrait includes a hidden sperm https://t.co/dlQR08l99n https://t.co/LYpqqB2V0q
Obama’s portrait – a stark contrast to predecessors with inappropriate sexual innuendo.
Wiley has indeed used sperm motifs in previous paintings, and, as the Washington Post's art and architecture critic Philip Kennicott has noted, Wiley's portrait of young Black men often have "a distinct homoerotic quality", and are often intended to lambast "the pomp and grandiloquence of historical portraiture".
However, it can also be argued that the vein on Obama's temple is just a prominent vein in real life - or that this is unfounded speculation from Hannity.
Former US President Barack Obama in Paris, on 2 December 2017. (Picture: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
On final note - the theory appears to have started on 4Chan. Take from that what you will.