The Slatest

Associated Press Takes Down “Piss Christ” Image After Complaints About Censorship Double Standard

“Piss Christ” after being vandalized in France in 2011.

Boris Horvat/AFP/Getty

The Associated Press is among the numerous news outlets that have been self-censoring images of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons that may have provoked Wednesday’s deadly Paris attack. In a statement, the news organization said that such censorship is standard policy:

None of the images distributed by AP showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. It’s been our policy for years that we refrain from moving deliberately provocative images.

The conservative Washington Examiner publication then pointed out that the AP nonetheless continued to carry an image of Andres Serrano’s 1987 “Piss Christ” photograph—which is certainly provocative, having been the subject of massive controversy in the United States, and which was actually vandalized by Catholic protesters when it was on display in 2011 in, as it happens, France. (See the damaged photo, which depicts a crucifix submerged in the artist’s urine, above.)

Some time after the Examiner’s post, the AP appears to have taken the “Piss Christ” image off its website.

Here’s what you get now if you go to the AP’s “Piss Christ” page.


Read more of Slate’s coverage of the Charlie Hebdo attack.