Bowing to pressure from journalists who complained about it stocking Trump-related merchandise, a museum in Washington, D.C., on Saturday said it would no longer sell T-shirts that say “You Are Very Fake News.”
The Newseum — which claims to celebrate the role and history of the press in America — says it has removed the shirts from its gift shop and online store, and issued a public apology and show of support for members of the media.
“We made a mistake and we apologize,” the organization said in a news release, the Hill reported. “A free press is an essential part of our democracy and journalists are not the enemy of the people.”
The statement marked a reversal from a previous Newseum position, in which the museum said it offered the “Fake News” shirts and other items out of respect for conflicting viewpoints.
Newseum spokeswoman Sonya Gavankar had defended the merchandise to Poynter.org, a website for a media think tank, saying the museum encourages an environment of free expression.
“As a nonpartisan organization, people with differing viewpoints feel comfortable visiting the Newseum,” she said, “and one of our greatest strengths is that we’re champions not only of a free press but also of free speech.”
But members of the free press weren’t buying it.
The T-shirt debacle followed a heated exchange earlier this week where journalists asked White House press secretary Sarah Sanders to declare that the media is not the “enemy of the people,” a position espoused by President Trump, who has also helped popularize the term “fake news.”
The mission of Newseum, a nonprofit enterprise, is to “increase public understanding of the importance of a free press and the First Amendment,” according to its website.
While the Newseum will no longer sell the “fake news” shirts, it told FOX5 DC that it will continue carrying other Trump-related merchandise, including the top-selling “Make America Great Again” hats.
Fox News’ Amy Lieu contributed to this report.