The Newseum, the Washington D.C.-based journalism museum, caved to the online outrage mob over the weekend and removed merchandise that pays homage to President Donald Trump's "fake news" moniker for the mainstream media.
The museum faced a flurry of intense criticism on Friday after Poynter reported the museum sells Trump-related merchandise, including "Make America Great Again" caps and "fake news" t-shirts, in its gift shop.
Just shut the Newseum down. The NEWSeum is so apparently desperate it's sells fake news T-shirts. Appalling, disgu… https://t.co/j88hQXtMZ6— Jeff Jarvis (@Jeff Jarvis) 1533328441.0
Numerous journalists and employees in the news industry lashed out at the museum for the merchandise, calling on the Newseum to immediately stop selling the apparel and remove it from their website.
In response to the outrage, a spokesperson for the museum said on Friday it sells the apparel because the Newseum honors the First Amendment and respects difference of opinion.
"We recognize why you’re asking the question. As a nonpartisan organization, people with differing viewpoints feel comfortable visiting the Newseum, and one of our greatest strengths is that we’re champions not only of a free press but also of free speech," Sonya Gavankar, director of public relations for the Newseum, told Poynter.
“The MAGA hat and the FBI hat are two of our best-selling items," she explained.
What is the museum saying now?
However, by Saturday, the Newseum sang a much different tune. In a press release, the organization said it removed merchandise that dons Trump's "fake news" slogan.
The Newseum has removed the "You Are Very Fake News" t-shirts from the gift shop and online. We made a mistake and we apologize. A free press is an essential part of our democracy and journalists are not the enemy of the people.
Questions have also been raised regarding other merchandise. As an organization that celebrates the rights of people from all political spectrums to express themselves freely, we’ve historically made all types of political merchandise available for our guests to purchase. That has included former and current presidential slogans and imagery and merchandise from all political parties. We continue to do so in celebration of freedom of speech.