Trail Life is a boy’s group that caters to bigots. It was formed as the answer to the Boy Scout’s announcement that some gays were okay. Trail Life says that no gays are okay. However, a leader of Trail Life was afraid that a recent Associated Press photo — which showed some Trail Life boys displaying the Nazi salute — made his bigoted group look a little too bigoted.
The kids in the photograph certainly look as if they’re praising Hitler, but the reality is that they’re performing a ritual in which they raise their hands, then lower them slowly while singing “Taps.” The AP photographer just happened to catch the kids at the wrong moment.
The photo, published alongside an in-depth piece on Trail Life, immediately generated backlash. So much so that John Stemberger, the chairman of Trail Life, was receiving death threats. Stemberger brought this to the AP’s attention, and the AP has agreed to delete the photo.
“The story would have been better served without this particular photo, which was too easily misread,” an AP spokesperson told The Washington Post. “It will be removed from our archives.”[Image: LM Otero/Associated Press]