You’ll be met with an image of President Trump if you drive down Grand Avenue in Phoenix. He’s glaring down from a billboard, and he’s not just giving you the stink eye. His image is flanked by nuclear mushroom clouds and dollar signs that vaguely resemble swastikas.
The billboard went up Friday to coincide with the start of Phoenix’s “Art Detour” festival. But it won’t be going away after the event ends. Beatrice Moore, the billboard’s owner and self-described “patron of the arts,” announced that it will be adorning the avenue for the entirety of Trump’s administration.
Many people are upset about this contribution to the Phoenix art scene, including a woman who formerly lived under Communist rule.
Now the artist is quick to report that she’s getting death threats.
California artist Karen Fiorito reported that as early as Saturday morning she and her husband received a barrage of threats.
“I’ve been called a communist, a Satan worshiper. I’ve been told I’m a ‘very, very sick person.’ I’m not sure what that means. I haven’t been answering the phone. My husband has because he’s not afraid to talk to anyone, but he told me he received a couple death threats this morning. … He said, ‘They were coming to get us with their boys,’ ” Fiorito told reporters.
Hold on — there’s something fishy about those complaints. After the installation of the billboard on Friday, Fiorito posted on her Facebook page that she expected “back lash, death threats, and the like.” So let me get this straight: Fiorito is so stoked about the prospect of threats that she posts her thrill on social media, but then is shocked! shocked! I say! when she gets actual threats.
And, on cue, Fiorito merrily runs to the media to report them. Let me show you my shocked face.
This isn’t Fiorito’s first trip to the rodeo, either. In 2004, when she was an art student at Arizona State, she created this billboard accusing President Bush of being a liar.
Do Fiorito and her patron Beatrice Moore have the right to place this billboard? Absolutely. Should Fiorito and her family be the recipients of death threats as a result of her artistic expression? Absolutely not.
But on the other hand, it smacks of hypocrisy when Karen Fiorito seems to be excited about the likelihood of receiving threats from angry Trump supporters, and then kvetches to the media when threats actually materialize. Especially when she’s no stranger to activism and creating controversial images.
Hello, Ms. Fiorito? Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining, m’kay?