White House criticizes visitors flipping off Reagan portrait
A picture of Matthew Hart's Facebook page.
June 24th, 2012
05:17 PM ET
10 years ago

White House criticizes visitors flipping off Reagan portrait

(CNN) - The White House chided two visitors who posed for photographs in the White House while giving the middle finger to a portrait of former President Ronald Reagan.

The guests visited 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as part of a reception marking gay pride month and the pictures were later included in a Philadelphia Magazine article.

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A White House spokesman said such behavior does not belong at the White House.

“While the White house does not control the conduct of guests at receptions, we certainly expect that all attendees conduct themselves in a respectful manner. Most all do," Shin Inouye, a White House spokesman, said. "These individuals clearly did not. Behavior like this doesn’t belong anywhere, least of all in the White House."

According to the Magazine story, the two visitors, photographer Zoe Strauss and Matthew Hart, director for public engagement at Solution for Progress, posted the photos on their Facebook pages.

Hart also included disparaging remarks directed toward the former president on his page.

CNN was not able to reach either subjects, but Hart defended his gesture to the magazine and criticized Reagan for not doing more to prevent the spread of AIDS.

Filed under: Ronald Reagan • White House
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Disillusioned

    As much as I dislike Reagan's politics and governance, I think this type of behavior is outrageous. Just because you disagree with some, no matter how vehemently, there is no need for obscenities. For shame.

    June 24, 2012 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  2. Lila

    Such low class...glad the White House stood up to these jerks. This type of behavior is unacceptable and that goes for both liberals and conservatives. It's unfortunate they're gays which gives the extreme conservatives more ammunition to target their..

    June 24, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  3. atroy

    I'm a gay man and these men DO NOT represent me. By no means am I a fan of RR, In fact I'm a left leaning liberal, but I am also an American and am proud to be an American; think this behavior is immature and disrespectful. Also as a gay man who never got HIV in the 30 years since I turned 18 and came out, I am so very disappointed that GAY MEN didn't do more to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS......some of us behaved responsibly and many many more did not.

    June 25, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  4. me

    wow. your real cool at .. what.. 55? what a jerk. get real and start acting your age. your not cool anymore. old man! Your gay, your proud, and your stupid.

    June 25, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  5. Marla

    I don't blame them at all. Ronny was the one who started our economy onto it's downward slide with his "trickle upon the working poor economics" and his policies started the GOP party onto the road of becoming the right wingnut party that they are today.

    June 25, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  6. Katie B from NC

    These individuals were simply exercising their First Amendment rights. Nothing wrong with that.

    June 25, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  7. judy

    the whitehouse stepped up right away on this issue unlike the repos who wait to test the waters or make no staements at all.when our president is the one beinging maligned. Obama 2012

    June 25, 2012 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  8. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    Typical despicable disrespectful Obama supporters.

    June 25, 2012 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  9. lily

    The people featured in this article are a walking and talking oxymoron. If they were there for gay pride month....

    June 25, 2012 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  10. georgewashington

    I doubt Reagan cares.

    June 25, 2012 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  11. KCArrowhead

    Once again, liberals prove they are merely children in adult bodies.

    June 25, 2012 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  12. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    More disgusting public disrespect. We need to take a look at ourselves.

    June 25, 2012 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  13. 2020

    There is no place for this kiddy behavior.

    June 25, 2012 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  14. Bill

    Hart "criticized Regan for not doing more to prevent the spread of AIDS". Well that's rich. The only people that could control the spread of AIDS were the people having unprotected sex with multiple partners. Yet this guy blames Regan. Well I guess the kind of person who would take this kind of picture is the same kind of person who would attempt to shift the blame from his own group to somebody else.

    June 25, 2012 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  15. MickeyD.

    Then these so-called Disgusting Shameful Classless GAY RIGHT'S ACTIVIST'S and their respective supporters wonder why they are so staunchly opposed by us Good Decent Christian American Patriots??? SAD truly SAD to say the least!

    June 25, 2012 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  16. ourjungle

    What the heck is the big deal here....I,ll bet a lot of folks that are really hurting and suffering in Obama's Recession,are flipping him off (physically,and mentally).

    June 25, 2012 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  17. clarke

    No self respecting person would have done that. Some times people are just disgraceful , so unnecessary.

    June 25, 2012 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  18. Gurgyl

    ........like bush with Iraqi shoe, Reagan trickle down nonsense.

    June 25, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
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