Tweet about not banning V-J kiss(l), V-j kiss statue(r)

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Infamous V-J Day kissing photo won’t be banned by VA after memo on ‘non-consensual’ act prompts massive online backlash

'I can definitely say that the memo was not sanctioned.'


Mikael Thalen


Posted on Mar 6, 2024   Updated on Mar 6, 2024, 9:38 am CST

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reversed its decision to ban the famous “VJ Day Times Square kiss” photo from its medical facilities after a memo detailing the plan leaked online.

The memo, which stated that the famous WW2 kiss photo would be removed “to promote a culture of inclusivity and awareness,” was shared to X on Tuesday by the account “End Wokeness.”

The historic image shows a Navy sailor kissing a stranger on Victory over Japan Day, commonly referred to as V-J Day, on August 14, 1945.

Opponents of the attempted ban have described the move as nothing more than a display of political correctness. Critics of the photo, which is often used to symbolize the end of WWII, argue that the non-consensual embrace normalizes assault.

“The photograph, which depicts a non-consensual act, is inconsistent with the VA’s no-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment and assault,” the memo said.

Yet after going viral online, the memo, which was issued late last month by top VA operations official RimaAnn Nelson, was quickly rescinded.

In a statement on X, VA Secretary Denis McDonough stated that the image had not been banned. It remains unclear whether McDonough was aware of the directive prior to the memo being posted online.

The VA also confirmed to the Daily Dot that it was “NOT banning this photo from VA facilities.”

“Let me be clear: This image is not banned from VA facilities – and we will keep it in VA facilities,” McDonough wrote.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre referred to the memo as unsanctioned when questioned by reporters on Tuesday whether the Biden administration was aware of the initial plan.

“I can definitely say that the memo was not sanctioned,” Jean-Pierre said. “So it’s not something that we were even aware of until you all started reporting on it.”

Calls have since been made online for the VA to fire Nelson, the memo’s author. The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs has suggested it intends to investigate the matter.

“Good,” the committee said in response to the ban reversal. “And we still have serious questions about who at VA thought potentially banning this photo would be a good idea in the first place.”

It remains unclear how many VA facilities displayed the photo prior to the memo and whether any were removed.

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*First Published: Mar 6, 2024, 7:58 am CST