Woman talking (three split)

@star1021fm/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘I have to cover it up’: Hotel guest discovers unsettling picture framed on wall. She can’t remove it

'I know I'm being dramatic, but something's up with that picture.'


Charlotte Colombo


Posted on May 8, 2024   Updated on May 8, 2024, 9:02 am CDT

A radio DJ has gone viral after pointing out a “creepy” painting she came across in a hotel. LeighAnn Adam (@star1021fm), who is known for presenting on Star 102.1 FM, amassed 336,700 views on the video sharing the artwork. “I’m in my hotel room in New York City,” she said. “And last night before I went to bed—like I didn’t even notice, like for hours, I didn’t notice until I [lay] down on the bed—and I look over, and I see the weirdest thing.”

She then proceeds to show viewers a greyscale picture partially hidden by the TV. The picture shows a man touching up a painting, with the painting itself including two hyperrealistic pandas, a person dressed up in a panda mask, and another man dressed in regular clothing. After clocking the man wearing a “creepy panda head,” LeighAnn said she felt compelled to cover up the picture with a towel. “We can’t really see, but I have to cover it up because now I’m just freaked out by this. I know I’m being dramatic, but something’s up with that picture.”

In the comments section, viewers were quick to validate LeighAnn’s concerns. “I would have asked for a different room,” one commenter said. “That is the freakiest hotel art I’ve ever seen,” another added. Other commenters theorized that the painting was actually concealing a hidden camera, with commenters suggesting that LeighAnn gets a hidden camera detector from Amazon.

Commenters also successfully identified the picture, confirming that it’s a 2009 piece by surrealist artist Jane Hammond. Aptly, it is called “The Touch Up.”

What are “panda eyes”?

Arguably, surrealist art is designed to be unsettling, but something a lot of commenters pointed out was that “panda eyes,” in some circles, can have a hidden, dark meaning. “There is something not right about that picture,” one commenter wrote. “I’m looking it up now.”

“Panda eyes,” another commenter added. “Look it up.” Meanwhile, a further commenter warned, “You’ll regret it.” Across the r/conspiracies subreddit, users appeared to claim that “panda eyes” is something that happens to children after being sexually abused.

@star1021fm Is this creepy to you? #travel #traveltiktok #nyc #hotel #creepy #art #fyp @LeighAnn Adam ♬ original sound – STAR 102.1

Purportedly, the stress of the abuse causes blood vessels to burst in their eyes, but there doesn’t appear to be any scientific basis or evidence for this beyond Reddit and Quora messageboards. Some Quora users suggested that the source of this theory is QAnon, but The Daily Dot was unable to verify this.

Other commenters posited a more reasonable explanation for the painting, claiming that its placement was simply a result of a TV upgrade. “Most hotels fix their art to the walls and don’t change them out very often,” one commenter wrote. “Chances are, the TV got upgraded to a bigger one than was there before and it wasn’t worth it for the hotel to move art too.”

That certainly seems like the most likely scenario, but LeighAnn didn’t immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment via TikTok comment.

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*First Published: May 8, 2024, 1:00 pm CDT