Topographic Map Fuels Hateful Campaign

If you’ve ever visited our facility, you know that we feature World War II military memorabilia, relics, and artifacts from the era. A design element that was thought to compliment the décor and could cover a large area was a topographic map. Where do people turn for something like that? A stock photography company, and Shutterstock seemed to have just as good of a selection as any other.

The image chosen appeared to be a decent choice. It featured multiple elevations (1114, 1243, 1310, 1480, 1488, 1506). It also had a high priority score and high usage score which meant it was a popular choice for many others.

Purchased, printed, and attached to a wall, the project was believed to be complete. Until one day it was brought to our attention that one of the six elevations listed on the map (1488) was a hate symbol. Appalled and embarrassed by such accusations, the wall wrap was removed and replaced immediately. But somehow, in the mind of our accuser, that only made us appear more guilty of this heinous association. Since that moment, we have wondered if we had left it up, would that have made us appear less guilty? We’re pretty confident no matter what action we took, there was nothing that would save us from the hateful campaign that continues today.

Questions we’ve been asking…

Did our accuser reach out to Shutterstock to let them know?
Did our accuser reach out to the artist to harass and accuse them of being a white supremacist because their topographic map featured this symbol?
Did our accuser track down other individuals and organizations using this image to harass and victimize them?
If this image actually depicts a hate symbol, our accuser must be reaching out to Shutterstock to have this image removed, right?

Well, that doesn’t appear to be the case. 

Not only is the image still available on Shutterstock, the image is so popular that it’s identified as a “Superstar” with the note that “Shutterstock customers love this asset!”

Seems like our accuser has their work cut out for them!