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Obama presidential portrait draws ‘secret sperm cells’ fuss

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Sperm is too.

At least for conspiracy-mongering Fox News host Sean Hannity.

His latest Barack Obama beef revolves around the former President’s official portrait by Kehinde Wiley and “secret sperm cells.”

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After a handshake and a hug with the New York-based artist, the former commander in chief applauded the portrait at the unveiling Monday.

“What I was always struck by whenever I saw his portraits,” said Obama, “was the degree to which they challenged our conventional views of power and privilege.”

Artist Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of Barack Obama is swimming in questions from some people who think they see sperm in the artwork.

(Andrew Harnik/AP)

Hannity was struck by spermatazoa.

“Controversy surrounding Kehinde Wiley’s wildly non-traditional portrait of the commander-in-chief broke out within minutes of its unveiling,” Hannity’s blog declared in a now-deleted post, “with industry insiders claiming the artist secretly inserted his trademark technique — concealing images of sperm within his paintings.”

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Wiley, 40, a portraitist who’s famous for boldly reimagining classical works in contemporary ways to explore race and power, has used such sperm imagery in his previous paintings.

But did he do the same when he painted Obama, who’s seen seated amid a leafy bower? A request for comment from the artist about Obama’s painting was not returned Tuesday afternoon.


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One could see Obama’s portrait setting as being about roots. Or being down to earth. Or being grounded. Or even as a sly nod to Obama’s acknowledged pot-puffing past.

Hannity, however, sees sperm. And tries to show it too.

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Before being deleted, the story on his blog was accompanied by an extreme closeup of Obama’s face, where a wavy vein runs down his forehead and squiggly white hairs streak his head.

Sperm? I don’t see it. I looked. Hard.

Sometimes a vein is just a vein.

Sometimes squiggly white hairs are just squiggly white hairs.

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And a distraction is just a distraction.

And that’s what Hannity’s blog’s slippery SpermGate boils down to.

Not Released (NR)

Fox News Host Sean Hannity’s blog posted a story about Barack Obama’s portrait, then deleted it.

(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

He and other Republicans are wasting time on nonsense to get another jab at the former president that will play to the Obama haters and Donald Trump lovers.

SpermGate comes amid GOP inaction on immigration and the dreamers, an enormous tax gift to corporations and the rich, and a domestic abuse scandal engulfing the White House.

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It doesn’t take an armchair art critic to see that.

SpermGate? Come on.

Hannity later released a statement in which he said: “Earlier today my web staff posted content that was not reviewed by me before publication. It does not reflect my voice and message and, therefore, I had it taken down.”

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