Garbage can and train station posters in New York City were suddenly sporting posters slamming President Donald Trump and his supporters.
But the images didn’t bear obvious anti-Trump messages, portraying instead artwork that appeared as a public service announcement.
The images, which appeared on buildings and trash cans along New York’s Lower East Side, took aim at Trump with the caption: “Keep NYC Trash Free.”
The artwork included depictions of a man sporting a “Make America Great Again” hat with a Chick-fil-A cup in hand and a Confederate flag tattoo on his arm.
Keep NYC Trash Free’: Images of Trump Supporters Show Up on NYC Garbage Cans. The artwork begin showing up on trash cans where a public service announcement would normally be. pic.twitter.com/esURV0PKhd
— Debbie (@Dangchick1) October 26, 2018
Another poster showed shows a Bible-holding woman with a red “MAGA” hat.
Gross. Can you imagine if it read “Keep NYC Trans Free” or had a photo of the LGBT flag that said “Keep NYC Trash Free”? pic.twitter.com/zgOsoFz41I
— Mary (@maryyxoxoo) October 27, 2018
One image showed a shouting man in a Boston Red Sox hat and Tom Brady jersey holding a Sam Adams beer.
— Mr. B (@NY_Giantsrock) October 24, 2018
And while the NYC Department of Sanitation logo appeared on the images, the agency denied it had anything to do with them.
“These posters were not created or issued by the Department of Sanitation, and we do not condone unlawful defacement of City litter baskets or public property. We are looking into this matter,” the Department said in a statement, logo, according to WPIX-TV.
There were reports that street artist Winston Tseng was behind the images.
According to “Bedford + Bowery”:
Looks like this is the work of Winston Tseng, the graphic designer and art director who previously gained attention with his Trump alphabet cards as well as fake ads for Hannity and a Yeezy x MAGA 2020 collab. Earlier this year he received a cease and desist after putting up a “Your Train Is Delayed” poster in the Bleecker Street subway station. Around the time this post was published, he Instagrammedthree photos of “Keep NYC Trash Free” posters at other locations.
Tseng refuted the claim in a statement to WPIX:
“For the record, I didn’t create or put up these posters. But if I did, I wouldn’t want people to take them so seriously, since they’re meant to reflect certain parts of our society and not meant to generalize beyond those. I’d just want the intended audience of my fellow ‘classist elitist New Yorkers’ to hopefully be entertained by the ‘unhelpful, tone-deaf message’ as they go about their day in this trash filled liberal bubble.”
But BrooklynStreetArt.com reported on how the posters by the “street provocateur” are “a direct critique on Trump’s policies and ideologies.”
In an interview, the artist explained his use of white people in the latest images.
“I wouldn’t say its meant to represent all caucasians but certainly they are meant to portray a certain demographic. In this case a segment of white people that I personally believe the posters accurately reflect,” he said. “The statistics are there that a lot of Trump supporters who wear the MAGA hats come from red states, from the south, and are Christian Evangelicals. Those are the concepts that I included on these posters. I didn’t make that up. I’m just reflecting something that is a quantifiable fact.”
And while Tseng claimed his goal was “personal expression” in creating the images, he admitted there was humor involved as well.
“I’m not one to think that I’m going to change anyone’s mind by doing this. There’s a bit of humor in it and I’m hoping that people are entertained by it. I think that the majority of New Yorkers would probably agree with that just based on the statistics of liberals versus conservatives in New York,” he said. “So it’s personal expression. It is the entertaining factor. It is sort of a stress relief for me, just to get it out there.”
Some New Yorkers did weigh in on the images, as reported by WPIX.
“I actually think it’s really disrespectful to New Yorkers,” Liz Morrow commented.
“I think it’s a little abrasive, but I do appreciate it,” Julie McMinnon said. “I think it’s funny. It’s very New York.”
“It’s pretty sensitive material,” Gina Bonfiglio added.
Most of the posters have been removed, according to WPIX but some still remained.
Whether Tseng was behind the images or not, and whether the campaign was designed to be humorous or not, Twitter users condemned the left’s double standard and the attacks on a portion of Americans.
Would you defend freedom of expression if it were a dark-skinned/haired person clutching the Holy Quran, crossed out in red with the message to “Keep NYC Trash Free,” or would it be viewed as a tasteless ad that would almost certainly fuel anti-Muslim bigotry?
— Jason (@Socraticness) October 27, 2018
— Jason (@Socraticness) October 27, 2018
The NYC tolerance starts with Diblasio. He would not let this happen if a minority was pictured…and he shouldn’t. But this is ok?
— Ray Smith (@RaySmith0099) October 26, 2018
WOW: Hate ads are being ran in NYC that call for the removal of “trash” which depicts Christians and Trump supporters.
This is outrageous. pic.twitter.com/9MpNviSXhC
— Mike Tokes (@MikeTokes) October 26, 2018
— Janet Parshall (@parshalltalk) October 26, 2018