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Museum shuts down Shia LaBeouf’s anti-Trump exhibit

Feb. 10, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan

The Museum of the Moving Image shut down a divisive participatory art installation today after it attracted protests and violence over the course of its three-week run.

The He Will Not Divide Us live stream, set up by actor Shia LaBeouf, encouraged passersby to stand in front of a camera mounted on the side of the museum and repeat the phrase “He will not divide us.”

It was launched as a message of unity on the day of President Donald Trump’s inauguration and was slated to run for the full four years of Trump’s presidency. It was shut down today due to safety concerns.

After its installation, the exhibit quickly became a safety hazard, with white supremacists coopting the livestream, leading to violent altercations. LaBeouf got in to an altercation with a Nazi apologist last month, landing him in jail for a few hours after he shoved a man who said “Hitler did nothing wrong.”

The Museum explained in a statement on the closing that it had received dozens of threats of violence over the course of the installation and several people were arrested at it, leading the 114th Precinct to believe it necessary to guard the installation 24/7.

“We are proud to have launched this engaging and thought-provoking digital art installation which was experienced by millions of online viewers worldwide. Until public safety concerns overrode the intent of the installation, HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US generated an important conversation allowing interaction among people from many backgrounds and with different viewpoints. However, ending our engagement with the installation is the most prudent path forward to restore public safety to the Museum, its visitors, staff, and the community,” the Museum said in a statement today.

Since the museum shut down the installation, the live stream on the project’s website has simply read “THE MUSEUM HAS ABANDONED US.”

Shia Lebeouf

“On February 10, 2017, the Museum of the Moving Image abandoned the project,” reads the He Will Not Divide Us website. “The artists, however, have not.”

The co-opting of the installation and the violence it attracted also drew the attention of a local politician.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer also used the exhibit to stage a protest at the end of last month against the hate groups that had been coopting the livestream, holding a rally with over 1,000 people in attendance.

“Yesterday we gathered to say clearly to the world and our neighbors that we reject hatred, we stand against bigotry, and we embrace diversity,” Van Bramer said in a statement the day after his rally.

He announced today that he supports the Museum’s decision to close the exhibit, citing concerns of those living nearby and threats to public safety.

“Needless to say, I was also shocked and outraged by the hateful symbols and rhetoric used by far too many at the exhibit. I witnessed racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, sexism and unabashedly pro-Nazi symbols and remarks on this live feed. I’m proud to have led a rally at the site to denounce such hatred,” Van Bramer said in a statement this morning.

“Dissent, and dissenting voices, are always welcome at cultural institutions. But while I am a great supporter of culture in New York City, and believe strongly in the Museum of the Moving Image’s decision to take on challenging works, including this one, it is clear that this installation became a public nuisance and a public safety hazard. That could not continue,” he added.

 

 

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23 Comments

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Anonymous

It’s funny how some people will just follow the flock of sheep for a certain type of artwork that has stood there for several weeks now. It’s all about freedom of speech, but people can’t accept it. If Labeouf’s exhibit challenges our thinking to a certain agree, why not accept it? That’s like saying that if a pro-Trump supporter puts their stuff in MOMI, then a similar situation will cap up and do it all over again. It just gives our entire community a major stink thanks to certain people that won’t use their heads and protest without violence..When will people in our community learn?

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Anonymous

To all you ppl moaning about no one should protest Trump, did you say the same thing when those wackjob tea party fanatics did it to President Obama?

Reply
yassss

my question is, why weren’t these people at work!

you want to have a pot to piss in and a leg to stand on get a job and go to work, be someone who gives back, instead of whines about shit when it hits the fan

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Vincent Marino

I’m thrilled actually. The Democratic Party will self-destruct after doing a tremendous job at getting people to do things Right! Upon giving both sides a fair shot in my lifetime, I have decided in my infinite wisdom that Leftist is definitively for Losers. Give it a rest, Losers! Trump is the People’s President and we, The People, have spoken loud and clear! Go take your sad excuse for art elsewhere. Don’t you know that bad art is passé in New York? I say we let Democrats continue farting from their loud mouths, the Losers. More and more will wake up and gravitate to the other side. The Right, by title only, is now the logical side.

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yassss

the people’s president? Are you a big fan on Mnuchin, the foreclosure king? Or Rex Tillerson, Fossil fuel magnate?
you must be some kind of dope if you think he gives two shits about you. Look at his cabinet.
Look at the sheer mass of wealth these people have. There is no logic in his ill thought out executive orders, holding each one up like a piece of macaroni art.
Other leaders are already mocking us, as is the rest of the world. Hey, i’m not a fan of Hillary either, but at least i didn’t drink the kool aid Trump was selling. I have half a brain to see such an angry and easily frustrated man does not belong in such a position of power.

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Luke Turner

Let’s be real here. Shia assaulted a couple people and got to a point where he was attacking people who weren’t even trying to troll, but rather trying to have discussions. There were a lot of Trump supporters, conservatives and libertarians who showed up to have discussions just to be yelled at, called nazis, called bigots and some even having personal information exposed on social media. The media only decided to jump on it when 5 wannabe neo-nazi losers showed up, ignoring all the reasonable people and making everyone look like bigots. I personally watched kind reasonable people get yelled and harassed of the lot just for supporting Trump. The diversity of the Trump crowd was incredible: asians, gays, blacks, whites, women, hispanics, middle-easters, indian, etc, etc, etc. Of course, no mention of that diversity… He Will Not Divide Us until a Trump supporter shows up, then it GTFO Nazi scum.

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Anonymous

About time….. I gave it a week. Didnt realize how many lowlives were in Astoria until then. Protest like grown adults not like that.

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Phil MaCrackin

Typical liberal, ok for you to support who you want but anyone that disagrees with you is a racist, fascist or nazi. GTFOH. Goto Starbucks and hang out with the other snowflakes.

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TruthMatters

You may disagree with me but if you were really against racist, fascist, and/or nazis, you wouldn’t support Trump, who has done nothing but encourage them. Starbucks snowflake? How original. That’s probably where you brainstormed your redneck handle.

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Anonymous

I’m for trump and all but no one’s concerned that there’s nazi/white supremacists in astoria?

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teddys

The “nazi/white supremacists” where mostly a bunch of teens and young adults making dumb statements in order to score views/gain popularity by giving out there social media accounts and trying to get a kick out of their peers through the live steam in a city that is shocked and does not tolerate individuals and groups from voicing this hate. In other words, young people doing it for the “lolz,” and rebelling by being in the “forbidden” minority for the attention. There were also many youth that were there to support Trump but the media makes it seem as if everyone for the president was racists. homophobic, anti immigration, etc.

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DE

Drove by that block today. So happy all the zombies went home. Now that the he will not divide us shit show is over. What’s Shia la dueche gonna do. Fucking guy was licking some kids face in front of that camera. Kids were smoking pot, playing twister. FOH. Real New Yorkers go to work and go home. All you fake New Yorkers, when your tired of living with two roomates, or your trust funds running low, don’t let the door hit you in your hippie ass on the train ride back to Utah or Nebraska.

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DE

A real new Yorker wouldn’t ask such a dick head question. Why don’t you discuss it with your roomates.

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Brinks

GTFO! You call that an art installation? NO, Hatred against your president Trump is still Hatred no matter what you call it. All the others had the right to free speech just like you. Be more productive and contribute to society leading by example. Not swaying back and forth in front of a camera like a repetitive brainwashed drone.

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Gabe

This is exactly how I feel. The protestors are full of hatred to anyone who supports trump, even this article says the violence was spurred by white supremacists – huh? Anyone who supports trump is called names and hated. You are all haters and bigots. We all have rights to free speech and voting, not just you.

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Anonymous

Jimmy violated a few things when he showed up with his shills, they booted out everyone else, can’t do that, museum is a non-profit, can’t take sides politically. I’m pretty sure the IRS was notified and it came back to bite him in the rear.

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Trump won, dry your tears and deal with it

There was a young lad named Shia
he was the left-wing town crier
his performance art
might as well have been farts
that smell like a burning tire

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