WEST HOLLYWOOD—Controversy erupted in West Hollywood regarding pro-gay, pro-gun images that have been plastered throughout the city in wake of last week’s deadly shooting in Orlando, Florida.
Posters and stickers were anonymously scattered throughout the city on June 15, and an infusion of the gay pride flag and Gadsden flag, encouraging the LGBT community to take up arms and protect themselves with the message, “#shootback.”
The Gadsden flag dates back to the American Revolution and is associated with the Tea Party and other reactionary movements; the Gadsden flag features a coiled rattlesnake with a message below that reads, “don’t tread on me.” Warning enemies, “if you oppress us, we will strike.”
The pro-gay, pro-gun image featured the Gadsden flag’s signature coiled rattlesnake among a rainbow backdrop.
Posters printed with the pro-gun message were hung throughout West Hollywood and posted on light poles, electrical boxes, and other fixtures around town; they were spotted posted near City Hall, the Abbey Food Bar, Pacific Design Center, and near artist, ChadMichael Morrisette’s home, which is near the intersection of Fountain and Fairfax Avenues.
Morrisette made a call to action in wake of the Orlando shooting as well on June 12, the morning after the massacre at Pulse night club that left 50 dead and 53 wounded. He constructed a rooftop installment and dispersed 50 mannequins atop the roof of his West Hollywood home, creating a simulation of the aftermath of the shooting, with a message reading, “50 dead people #guncontrol.” Morrisette named the piece, “No One Is Safe.”
“We are disturbed by them,” West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister told the Los Angeles Times. “We don’t believe in an eye for an eye, and we advocate against gun violence.”
City workers quickly removed signs that were placed in public places.