Newseum Removes 'Fake News' T-Shirts From Gift Shop and Online Store

Fake News T-shirt
Newseum announced Saturday it would no longer sell T-shirts with the phrase "fake news" on it following public backlash. Screenshot/Newseum

The Newseum, a Washington, D.C., based museum designed to highlight the importance of freedom of the press and the First Amendment, announced Saturday it will no longer sell T-shirts bearing the phrase "You are very fake news," in its gift shop or online store.

"We made a mistake and we apologize," the museum said in a statement. "A free press is an essential part of our democracy and journalists are not the enemy of the people."

The statement went on to defend the other Trump-supporting merchandise in the store.

"As an organization that celebrates the rights of people from all political spectrums to express themselves freely, we've historically made all types of political merchandise available for our guests to purchase," Newseum said. "That has included former and current presidential slogans and imagery and merchandise from all political parties."

We have removed the "You Are Very Fake News" t-shirts from the gift shop and online. We made a mistake and we apologize. A free press is an essential part of our democracy and journalists are not the enemy of the people. https://t.co/eLXa9t646g

— Newseum (@Newseum) August 4, 2018

The decision to drop the shirts came less than 24 hours after Newseum spokesperson Sonya Gavankar told a CNN reporter the phrase was intended to be a "satirical rebuke" against the phrase "fake news," a term that has become popular for Trump and his supporters.

"Fake news is a word that is in our popular culture now and this is intended to be a 'satirical rebuke' and appears in our store with T-shirts that include a variety of other 'tongue-in-cheek' sayings," Gavankar said, who added that "All the merchandise in our store goes through a vetting process."

Just in: @Newseum spokesperson defends “Fake News” t shirt, tells me "Fake news is a word that is in our popular culture now and this is intended to be a “satirical rebuke” and appears in our store with T-shirts that include a variety of other “tounge-in-cheek” sayings….

— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) August 3, 2018

The "fake news" shirts were previously on sale for $19.97, down from its usual price of $24.99. The Newseum still lists Make America Great Again baseball caps, on sale for $14.99. The MAGA hat is one of the museum's best-selling items, according to Gavankar.

The Newseum says #MAGA hats are among its best-selling merchandise https://t.co/zkwh6sa4qa

— Poynter (@Poynter) August 3, 2018

On its website, Newseum said it's goal is to, "increase public understanding of the importance of a free press and the First Amendment. Visitors experience the story of news, the role of a free press in major events in history, and how the core freedoms of the First Amendment — religion, speech, press, assembly and petition — apply to their lives."

The president has touted the "fake news" phrase since before he took office, often leveling the accusation while pointing to the stage of cameras and reporters who cover his rallies. The past week was no different, as the president made campaign rally stops in Florida and Pennsylvania where he repeatedly talked about the "fake news" and the press as the "enemy of the people."

'Fake, Fake, Gisgusting News',
'Enemy of The People':
President Trump Blasted Corporate Media Giantd on Fake News And Propaganda pic.twitter.com/BEMPoSemAX

— DoC (@DocPakistan) August 4, 2018

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to refute the president's recent claim that the media is the "enemy of the people."

CNN's Jim @Acosta repeatedly asked White House press secretary Sarah Sanders to say the press isn't the enemy of the American people. She didn't.

"It is un-American to come out here and call the press the enemy of the people," Acosta said afterward. https://t.co/RkSlQxY2cK pic.twitter.com/ti3bWmfnz1

— CNN (@CNN) August 3, 2018

CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta faced a barrage of insults from Trump's supporters Tuesday evening at a rally in Tampa, Florida. Throughout the evening, Trump supporters harrassed the TV reporter during live reports, cursed at him, gave him the middle finger and called him "fake news."

Fake News @Acosta tweeted -
"It was great chatting with all the Trump supporters in Tampa tonight. I took more questions from them than the president has taken from the press lately.""

Now The REAL NEWS
Trump Supporters BOOS Jim Acosta

pic.twitter.com/IxgZh8jWNg

— _Christene_ (@_Christene_) August 1, 2018

Just a sample of the sad scene we faced at the Trump rally in Tampa. I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt. We should not treat our fellow Americans this way. The press is not the enemy. pic.twitter.com/IhSRw5Ui3R

— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 1, 2018