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Artist has a different spin

Hunter’s original artwork, Permanent Recess. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Conspiracy theorists have allegedly stolen the artwork of a Wairarapa artist to promote an online video pushing conspiracy theories.

Counterspin Media, a far-right conspiracy theorist website that promotes anti-vax messages and has called for the trials and executions of politicians, public figures and media, have used an image created by

Carterton-based artist AJ Hunter to promote an online video. The artwork, entitled Permanent Recess, depicts an abandoned and decrepit Beehive and parliament based in the year 2200.

The image was used as a graphic for ‘Episode 72’ of their online show, entitled ‘Stuff’s Fire and Fury – The Aftermath – Experts Speak Out’.

The episode would hear from “experts” mostly pushing an anti-vax message. Most of Counterspin’s videos were formatted to appear as news broadcasts, with two presenters sitting at a table talking to the camera.

Hunter created the image in 2008 as part of his series The Edge of Time, with the original purpose of the image being a commentary on climate change. He said they had no right to use the image.

“They’ve stolen my original artwork without attributing me or paying to use the image, or even asking if they could use it.

“I wouldn’t have given my permission if asked. I loathe Counterspin, they are cynical ripoff artists and I have nothing but contempt for their sub-Infowars tinfoil hat bullshit. The point of my original image was climate change, not Counterspin’s petty politics.”

Hunter said he was looking to take legal action against the group.

“I’ve issued a DMCA takedown via their web hosts, which Counterspin will ignore because they’re assholes.”

Executive producer and host for Counterspin Kelvyn Alp said he did not steal the art.

“The image was obtained via the Counterspin Media Telegram chat after being placed there by one of the people that subscribe to our chat.

“It was certainly not stolen.”

Alp said Counterspin attempted to find the source of the image which led them to a blog called Not PC, where the image was used below a link that did credit Hunter.

“There was no watermark on the image and neither could a copyright notice be found referring that the image being restricted in use.

“We are more than happy to replace the poster of the show or promote the site where it was tracked and giving credit for it. Alternatively, we may be able to offer financial compensation for its use.”

The image was part of a digital art series portraying areas around Wairarapa and Wellington in the absence of people.

“The images show what the regions would have looked like before men moved into the area, and what they may look like in the future,” Hunter said at the time.

“As well as no visible human effects on the landscape, including introduced plants, the photos show a geologically different landscape.”

Counterspin Media members were present at Tuesday’s Freedom and Rights Coalition in Wellington.

George Shiers
George Shiers
George Shiers is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age interested in politics and social issues. He reports regularly on a range of topics including infrastructure, housing, and transport. George is also the Tararua reporter and helps cover police, fire and court stories.

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