Friday, April 12, 2024

Mystery: Who Sent Out a Memo from the VA Banning Famed VJ Kissing Photo? Rescinded Order Said Iconic Picture Depicted “Non Consensual Behavior”


There’s a mystery at the Department of Veteran Affairs.

A memo was sent out on February 29th banning the use of a famous photograph at all department buildings. It was real, I am told by sources. But this morning, when I queried, the memo was rescinded.

You can see it below.

The brouhaha was over famed photographer Alfred Eisenstadt’s took a picture of a couple kidding on V-J when World War II was declared over.

The legendary photo, appeared on the cover of Life Magazine in 1945 and went on to become iconic.

The VA memo said they cancelled the photo because it displays a “non consensual act,” according to a memo being circulated on line from the VA. Anyone with questions is told to contact Lelia Jackson, Director of the Assault and Protection Office. The letter is signed by RimaAnn Nelson, Assistant Under Secretary for Operations.

Of course, no one answers the phone at the VA so this could be a hoax. But it’s also possibly true, which would be a sign of the times and the way we think about images and actions of the past. Exuberant, spur of the moment celebrating should clearly not have been allowed, even in 1945.

And though you might think this is the height of wokeness, the woman in the photo actually objected to what is depicted. Reported in the Washington Post in 2019, “It wasn’t my choice to be kissed,” she told one interviewer. “The guy just came over and grabbed!” Another reporter asked what she was thinking at that moment. “I hope I can breathe,” she said in local news footage since removed from the Internet: “I mean somebody much bigger than you and much stronger, where you’ve lost control of yourself, I’m not sure that makes you happy.”

But her son said after her death that his mother did not view it that way.

But now the VA says the photo will continue to be displayed. What’s going on at the VA? Because this memo was real until it was recalled.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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