Thursday, September 29, 2022

Reiss: Colonial Williamsburg “no place” for hateful messages

This image, watermarked with the Colonial Williamsburg logo, was shared by a white supremacist twitter account. (Twitter image)
This image, watermarked with the Colonial Williamsburg logo, was shared by a white supremacist Twitter account. (Twitter image)

Colonial Williamsburg has rebuked the use of its photos in the spreading of hateful messages on social media.

Colonial Williamsburg’s social media accounts shared a message from Colonial Williamsburg Foundation President and CEO Mitchell B. Reiss Friday afternoon.

“I understand that watermarked Colonial Williamsburg images have appeared recently in social media posts espousing ideology that does not reflect the values and mission of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation,” Reiss said in the message.

Reiss’ statement comes almost a week after white supremacists filled the streets of Charlottesville for a rally, resulting in one death and dozens of injuries. The rally was organized to protest the removal of a statue honoring confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

In his message, Reiss addressed images watermarked with the Colonial Williamsburg logo that had been shared on social media alongside messages promoting ideologies incongruous with those of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

The images were shared by social media users without the permission of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Reiss’ statement said.

One tweet using a Colonial Williamsburg photo included the hashtag #WhiteIdentity and urged teaching white children to be proud of and defend their heritage.

David Duke, a white nationalist with ties to the Ku Klux Klan, was among those who retweeted the message.

In his statement, Reiss did not provide specifics about the images. Nor did he identify any social media accounts or users by name. Still, he reaffirmed the values and mission of the foundation.

“Let me be very clear: there is no place for these messages at Colonial Williamsburg,” Reiss said. “We believe in equality, inclusivity, and the power of America’s enduring story- a story that includes all Americans, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or creed.”

A Colonial Williamsburg spokesperson was not immediately able to clarify which social media posts Reiss’ message referred to Friday afternoon.

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