When photographer Ed Freeman tried to capture the gay rights struggle in a cover photo for Frontiers, a gay magazine, he decided to imitate a famous image showing a different kind of struggle.
Freeman posed four men to mimic the famous photo of a flag being raised, captured by Associated Press Photographer Joe Rosenthal on February 23, 1945.
Rosenthal took a photo of five Marines and a Navy corpsman as they planted the American flag in the side of Mount Suribachi, the Washington Post reports. Within weeks, three of the men in the photo had been killed.
While Rosenthal’s photograph received a Pulitzer Prize and inspired the war bond effort to grow, Freeman’s photograph has received death threats and caused a negative social media firestorm.
Even though the photograph was taken over a decade ago, people seem to have found renewed feelings of hatred for the photograph.
Freeman told the Washington Post that he even received a death threat over the photo which he reported to the FBI. Freeman was also attacked on Facebook for the following post:
Freeman said he never expected this kind of backlash from the photograph. His is not the only image inspired by Iwo Jima that has come under scrutiny, though. Many different advertising campaigns have adapted the image to suit their needs, and it has consistently been met with negative responses.