Man Sues Museum over ‘Racist’ Paintings of Jesus

Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Updated: Dec 08, 2015

Man Sues Museum over ‘Racist’ Paintings of Jesus

A man who visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art is suing the museum and New York City for violating the Civil Rights Act.

Justin Renel Joseph says in his complaint that the museum is racially insensitive and is violating the Civil Rights Act for displaying paintings with Jesus as a white male.

According to the Christian Examiner, Joseph says he suffered “emotional and psychological harm” when he saw the paintings, which include "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.

In his complaint, Joseph writes: “The implication that someone who possesses physical features like the Plaintiff could not be the important historical and public figure of Jesus Christ and that his features were falsified to reinvent Jesus Christ into a blonde haired, fair-skinned and Aryan male, caused the Plaintiff to feel, among other things, rejected and unaccepted by society.”

In response, the museum said: "When they were painted, it was typical for artists to depict subjects with the same identity as the local audience. This phenomenon occurs in many other cultures, as well," the MET's Elyse Topalian told the New York Post.

Joseph said that he went to a local NYPD station to report harassment by a neighbor. The police wouldn’t take his statement, but Joseph was arrested for being “too excited,” he said. He was then sent to Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital.

"The doctors at Bellevue Hospital among other things: forcibly restrained, kidnapped, falsely imprisoned, forcibly drugged (despite being told that it went against the victim's religious beliefs) and denied attorney visitation. The doctors never ran any tests, asked questions about the victim's medical history, or asked what brought him to the hospital before these crimes were committed. They perpetrated these crimes based on what the NYPD (who are not doctors) told them," Joseph alleges on his website.

Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Publication date: December 8, 2015

Man Sues Museum over ‘Racist’ Paintings of Jesus