December 8, 2015
How could Jesus have not been White?
And how do you sue a museum over hundreds of years old paintings? Or sue anyone over any painting?
A New York City man is suing the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the “offensive aesthetic whitewashing” in Renaissance-era artwork that depicts Jesus Christ as not a native Middle Easterner but as a white, blond-haired man.
Justin Renel Joseph, 33, included four paintings displayed at the world-famous museum in his lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court, saying the “racist” works portray Jesus Christ as an “Aryan” man when in reality, he had “black hair like wool and skin of bronze color.” He said the discrimination represented in the paintings is grounds for removal, the New York Post reported.
Joseph, acting as his own lawyer, said he experienced “personal stress” from the paintings “The Holy Family with Angels” by Sebastiano Ricci; “The Resurrection” by Perugino; “The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes” by Tintoretto; and “The Crucifixion” by Francesco Granacci.
Joseph said the paintings are particularly disturbing to him since he himself has black hair and bronze-colored skin.
“The implication that someone who possesses physical features like the plaintiff could not be the important historical and public figure of Jesus Christ… caused the plaintiff to feel, among other things, rejected and unaccepted by society,” Joseph said in court filings.
He told the New York Post that the paintings in question represent an “extreme case of discrimination,” and that his legal claim is based on one of the most important anti-discrimination laws in American history.
“They completely changed his race to make him more aesthetically pleasing for white people,” he said. “I’m suing a public venue which by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 can’t discriminate on a protected basis.”