Yesterday, our nation experienced one of the most terrifying moments in its history when a group of extremists stormed the United States Capitol in Washington D.C., in a riot that left four dead and resulted in 68 arrests.
In the chaos of what some are dubbing an act of domestic terrorism, a new villain arose to the forefront of the Twittersphere, embodying the misguided anger of the rioters -- a fictitious man by the name of Via Getty.
On Wednesday afternoon, Ryan Lizza, Politico's Cheif Washington Correspondent, and CNN's Senior Political Analyst began sharing images from the Capitol siege on the social platform, including the now-infamous photo of an insurgent smiling and waving as he makes off with what appears to be a Congressional podium. "Via Getty, one the rioters steals a podium from the Capitol," he captioned the post.
As the image made the rounds on social media, several Twitter users began to (reasonably) express their disgust at the heinous acts of the rioter depicted. Amid this backlash, however, a small, erm, technical problem arose -- despite a variety of posts calling for "Via Getty" to be held accountable for his crimes, Mr. Getty is not, in fact, a real person. The insurgent very much exists, but Mr. Getty? Not so much.
For those of you who aren't journalists, and/or have made the wise decision to avoid a life defined by intense archival research, The "Via Getty" mention in Lizza's post denotes that the photo in question is from Getty Images, a company that offers an array for royalty-free and editorial images for reporters and other media professionals. Even so, several well-meaning, albeit unwitting Twitter descended upon the man depicted -- making "Via Getty" the poster child of the Capitol attack.
From denouncing his actions ...
... to brutally, although deservedly, roasting the heck out of him (according to Newsweek)...
... and even calling for his arrest ...
... Twitter was fired up, ready to make sure the world knew Via Getty's name and association with the horrific acts of violence on our nation's capital.
Soon after, Lizza stepped in to clarify this case of mistaken identity, likely to the significant relief of the Getty company, who probably received a number of angry emails blaming them for the division in this country.
According to the Bradenton Herald, Mr. Getty is actually a man by the name of Adam Christian Johnson, a 36-year-old stay at home dad who makes furniture, raising the question of why, exactly he felt the need to steal a fairly basic podium from our nation's Capitol when he could have stayed the fuck home and made one himself instead of partaking in a massive riot- tantrum.
So remember folks, Via Getty means a picture comes from Getty Images -- oh and please refrain from committing acts of domestic terrorism!