Libération, a left-wing French newspaper, took down a controversial photo essay from its website after it was revealed the photographer attended The George Washington University’s Inaugural Ball without permission.
As MediaFile originally reported, Matt Stuart, a Magnum Photos photographer working for Libération, attended and took pictures at GW’s Inaugural Ball event two weeks ago at the Omni Shoreham Hotel without university permission.
While Stuart, Magnum Photos, and Libération maintained that Stuart received proper credentials, GW refuted those claims and requested the photos be removed from Libération’s website.
Previously, Libération adapted the essay to reverse written implications that the students, alumni and faculty attendees were celebrating newly inaugurated President Donald Trump. Magnum and Stuart distanced themselves from Libération’s editorial discretion, but defended the risqué nature of the photographs. By contrast, the photos published by independent student newspaper The GW Hatchet painted a much more tame picture of the event.
The students photographed say Stuart did not wear anything indicating he was a member of the press, and say he did not ask permission to photograph them.
Following MediaFile’s reporting, GW engaged in discussions with Magnum and Libération to remove the photos.
“After further discussions with Libération, the photographs from the ball have been removed from their website,” a university spokesperson wrote in an email on Thursday.
The same spokesperson did not respond to numerous inquiries as to whether GW was threatening legal action against Stuart, Magnum Photos, or Libération.
At the time of publishing, Magnum Photos is still selling Stuart’s photos on its website.
Libération, Magnum, and Stuart have not yet responded to a request for comment on the decision to pull the article. This story will be updated if MediaFile receives comment.