The caption on this AP photo from the Netflix walkout is completely false (and now retracted)

Yesterday’s Netflix walkout was overshadowed a bit by a counter-protester who showed up with a sign that read “Jokes are funny.” That counter-protester is a comedian named Vito Gesualdi who makes videos and has a podcast. While he was there supporting Dave Chappelle’s right to make jokes, Vito was photographed by an Associated Press photographer named Damian Dovarganes. The shot Dovarganes got of him is really pretty great, but the caption that went along with it is another matter. It read, “Comedian and videographer Vito Gesualdi screams profanities as he engages with peaceful protesters begging him to leave…” Vito took issue with that description last night.

This afternoon, Jesse Singal pointed out that it’s possible to identify the exact moment when this photo was taken and because we can do that, we can also tell that the caption is absolutely false.

The caption isn’t even the only lie being told about this moment. Here’s a tweet from Variety which makes Vito the aggressor:

In case you missed it yesterday, here’s the video of Vito Gesualdi from the moment both of these photos were taken. The AP is literally reporting he was screaming profanities when he a) didn’t use a single one and b) the woman holding the tambourine in front of him is shouting “Repent motherf***er!” over and over. How do you manage to get it this wrong?

Wait, I’m remembering something…an image from a public confrontation that gets taken out of context…the media runs with the false narrative that suits them. Gee, where have I seen this all before? Oh, right.

The media hasn’t learned anything it seems. The AP needs to issue a speedy correction and an apology.

Update: Vito just posted the retraction/correction issued by the AP. It reads in part, “Corrects caption to remove reference to Gesualdi using profanities, which he did not do at the moment the image was made. Also removes reference to protesters being peaceful because one protester destroyed his sign.” So the new caption reads (in part):

Comedian and videographer Vito Gesualdi shouts at people protesting against Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special outside the Netflix building in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles…

Not mentioned are that Gesualdi’s co-host who was also there had his head shoved into a concrete planter or that the woman holding the tambourine in the photo was shouting “Repent motherf***er!” If profanities were worth mentioning when Vito allegedly said them why aren’t they worth mentioning when they were directed at him? Here’s what an accurate caption would sound like.

Comedian and videographer Vito Gesualdi says he loves Dave Chappelle as protesters shout profanities at him outside the Netflix building in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles…

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