An unsuspecting Ferguson protester agreed to take a picture for the Riverfront Times back in August, but at the time, he had no idea that the photo would be turned into a negative viral meme thanks to one guy and Adobe Photoshop.
27-year-old Jermell Hasson stood with two other protesters back in August in a picture for the Riverfront Times as they held signs to support their message. Hasson’s sign read, “No mother should have to fear for her son's life every time he leaves home. #blacklivesmatter #stayhuman.”
Three months later, however, the picture suddenly went viral – this time with the sign he was holding edited on Photoshop to paint a negative picture of Hasson.
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The new photoshopped sign reads, “No mother should have to fear for her son's life every time he robs a store,” and it has quickly gone viral on social media. Hasson says he was shocked to learn about what someone did to the photo.
“That's slander to my character," said Hasson to Daily RFT. "You can tell it's obviously been photoshopped. It was a horrible job."
The person behind the photoshopping, Imgur user Bdawgid, wrote on the site that he decided to alter the image because “it captured mine, and many others, frustration with this whole situation.”
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Jim Gleason, owner of Sign-A-Rama in St. Louis, decided to share the edited photo on his Facebook page, not realizing that it was a fake, with the caption, “You can’t make this up!!!!!” Quickly, the photo he shared went viral on Facebook, garnering over 28,000 shares in a short amount of time. Now that he knows the photo is fake, Gleason says he removed the photo and seems to regret ever posting it after receiving tons of criticism and negativity towards him and his business.
“I certainly didn't mean any harm by it,” said Gleason. “We absolutely, unequivocally did not edit it.”
Despite acknowledgement of the photo being a fake, Gleason still defends his views on the Michael Brown case.
“It appears that this young man robbed a store, assaulted a police officer, and it is just surprising to me the uprising when the physical evidence seems to be overwhelmingly in support of the police officer's actions,” Gleason said.
Even though Hasson is upset by the photo being edited to make him look ignorant, he says he thinks that someone going to the effort to do it means that protests are working.
“It shows that we are making a difference out here," Hasson said. "For someone who has nothing better to do with their life than photoshop a sign, it shows me that we haven't been out here since August for no reason. They're trying to stop the movement, which they can't.”