WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES NSFW (images are censored but still contain material that may be offensive to some readers)
Conservative street artist Sabo is known for his gonzo artwork that typically takes aim at Hollywood hypocrisy. From Meryl Streep to Alec Baldwin to Gwyneth Paltrow, Sabo has masterfully targeted celebrities who talk out both sides of their mouths.
With the #MeToo movement in full swing, the artist has once again taken to the streets to force a closer look at the celebrities from whom too many Americans take their moral cues.
The posters appear to be official advertisements for Sunday night’s Grammy Awards, using previously published photos of Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus. However, they are far from the typical promotion posters. Sabo uses naked images of the two pop stars with the hashtag #WeAllKnew. Some of the posters included “Long Live the Music”. One of the images features Cyrus wearing a police hat and inserting a baton into her mouth.
*full image below
Both of the photos were taken by famous celebrity photographer Terry Richardson, who has been rumored to be a notorious sexual harasser for many years. Several of Richardson’s previous models have recently come forward to accuse him of sexual harassment and assault.
The posters are quite graphic. The Hollywood Reporter even calls them “pornographic”. So much so that they went to the trouble of blacking out portions of the images before publication.
Ironically, the Hollywood Reporter makes Sabo’s point for him. Keep in mind, these are actual photos that the two women posed for and released to the public. As the #MeToo celebrity movement enjoys their fifteen minutes, they simultaneously turn a blind eye to the worst offenders among them. Terry Richardson has been a known quantity for decades. None of these “brave” celebrities have had the courage to come forward with what they have known about him all along, because he is one of the most successful and influential photographers in the business. Much like working with Harvey Weinstein or Woody Allen, a private session with Terry Richardson is coveted and seen as a career enhancement.Like he did with his now infamous Meryl Streep #SheKnew campaign, Sabo is pointing out the emptiness and disingenuous nature of Hollywood’s cause du jour. It extends only insofar as it needs to, in order to continually project their carefully crafted images. The women who have come forward with their true stories have paid the price in their careers. The women who are now clawing to latch onto the #MeToo bandwagon kept their silence and paid no price in their upward trajectory. After the risk has been taken, they sanctimoniously declare their sisterhood and support.
When questioned by the Hollywood Reporter about the appropriateness of his public installation Sabo replied:
“How can anyone be upset with me putting these up when no one seems upset about what the music industry pushes to our kids?”
Sabo may have earned a reputation as a “conservative” artist, but that unfairly diminishes the universality of his protest art. Street/protest art is designed to raise questions, provoke discussion and in some way provide a mirror for society. These are neither conservative or liberal purposes. It is simply the point of the genre and it is exactly what Sabo has done with his #WeAllKnew campaign.
The music industry especially has it’s own misogynist demons, and (like Hollywood) pedophilia is also a very real problem.
And yet, Sunday night all of these artists will proudly take to the red carpet and the Grammy stage and declare their solidarity with women and #MeToo and whatever else will get you to buy their next album.
The hypocrisy comes as no surprise these days, but it is never a bad thing to keep poking at the entertainment bubble. There are many victims who deserve to see that bubble burst.
WARNING: THESE IMAGES ARE NSFW