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August 30, 2020 7:08 pm

Outrage After Online Publication Uses Auschwitz Photo to Illustrate Story About R. Kelly Incarceration

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

R. Kelly. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A leading Australian Jewish group voiced outrage over the weekend after the online publication Viral Thread used an image of the Auschwitz concentration camp to illustrate a story about R&B singer R. Kelly being attacked in a Chicago jail.

The Anti-Defamation Commission wrote to Viral Thread demanding that it remove the picture immediately from its August 28th story about the rapper allegedly being assaulted by a fellow inmate at Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, where the 53-year-old “Ignition” singer is awaiting trial on sex abuse charges. The story has been shared more than 3,500 times.

In a statement, ADC Chairman Dr. Dvir Abramovich called the use of the photo a “trivialization, disrespect and abuse of the Holocaust taken to a new low.”

“This shockingly insensitive incident is a terrible insult to the memory of those who were slaughtered in that horrific killing centre and to the soldiers who gave their lives to defeat Hitler, and a slap in the face to those who survived,” he said.

A screenshot of the Viral Threat story.

“I shouldn’t have to say this, but the Metropolitan Corrections Center in Chicago is not Auschwitz, and it’s impossible to understand how anyone thought it was appropriate to use this image,” he added. “There can never be any justification for using the Holocaust to promote an entertainment story. Clearly, the people at Viral Thread need to be reminded that Auschwitz was the largest mass murder site in history and was the centerpiece of Hitler’s Final Solution where more than 1.1 million people (90 percent of them Jews) were gassed, shot, starved and died painfully during the grotesque experiments carried out by Dr. Josef Mengele.”

Abramovich asked for Viral Thread‘s editor to explain the decision to use the photo of the concentration camp, and said he hopes the publication “publicly apologizes for this outrage, implements better editorial practises, and removes the image immediately.”

“This incident is another reminder that we have a massive task ahead of us in terms of educating people, young and old, about the history, true impact and  the unparalleled horrors of Holocaust,” he said.

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