A Pittsburgh freelancer hid her profile subject’s swastika tattoo and connections to white supremacist circles, according to a statement on the article issued by its editor.
The article, by Kim Rutt, was published by the Pittsburgh City Paper, an alternative weekly. Rutt profiled several female tattoo artists in Pittsburgh for the weekly’s first cover story in its redesigned format.
One of the profile subjects in the article is Lettia Suchevich, who was photographed for the article wearing a t-shirt for the band Aggravated Assault. Shortly after the article’s publication, the City Paper received word that Aggravated Assault is a white supremacist band whose music is regularly shared on Stormfront, a popular neo-Nazi website.
After the City Paper contacted Rutt about the shirt, Rutt said she didn’t know that Aggravated Assault espoused white supremacy, but later admitted to airbrushing a small swastika tattoo out of the picture of Suchevich. Rutt said that that photo was not in the published version of the story.
“I made the decision to airbrush this symbol out of one photo where the symbol was particularly prominent because I believed if published it could be unnecessarily triggering or inflammatory, which would detract from the purpose of this article,” Rutt wrote in a statement to the City Paper. “I stand behind this article 100 percent.”
Afterwards, the City Paper reexamined photos it published of Suchevich and found a small swastika tattoo.
“I can honestly say that I don’t believe that Rutt’s actions were meant to be malicious,” wrote City Paper’s editor, Charlie Deitz. “However, ignoring someone’s racial ideologies to celebrate their achievement as a female small-business owner is not a trade-off that should have been made.”
Suchevich told City Paper that Aggravated Assault is her husband’s band.
“I was taught by skinheads and I’m not ashamed of that,” she said.