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National Portrait Gallery Pulls Controversial Video

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The National Portrait Gallery removed a video installation from its current exhibit, Hide/Seek, after a Catholic group complained it was "hate speech."
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The National Portrait Gallery removed a video installation from its current exhibit, Hide/Seek, after a Catholic group complained it was "hate speech."

The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery is removing a video installation after complaints from a Catholic group that the images were sacrilegious.

The video is part of an exhibit called "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture," which is supposed to trace how questions of gender and sexual identity have shaped American art.

Museum Director Martin Sullivan says that the video was meant to depict the suffering of someone with AIDS. But it includes a scene showing ants crawling on a crucifix. In an interveiw with the New York Post, Catholic League President Bill Donohue called it "hate speech" designed to insult Christians.

Bethany Bentley, a spokeswoman for the National Portrait Gallery, says the museum removed the video because criticism of it was becoming a distraction and was taking away from the focus of the exhibit.

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