After rioters stormed the US Capitol last week, one of the surreal photos that emerged showed a smiling man walking off with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern in the Rotunda. Then things got even more bizarre: people began calling for “Via Getty” to be arrested for his actions.
Getty Images chief photographer Win McNamee was the man behind the now-infamous photo that was quickly published by news outlets around the world.
The photo was then shared on Twitter by Politico Chief Washington Correspondent Ryan Lizza, who captioned it: “Via Getty, one the rioters steals a podium from the Capitol.”
Via Getty, one the rioters steals a podium from the Capitol pic.twitter.com/V4spojl40q
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) January 6, 2021
As the Tweet was Retweeted tens of thousands of times, people misinterpreted the photo caption as being the name of the rioter.
It seems so many people were confused that Lizza had to follow up his Tweet with a clarification.
To be clear, “via Getty” is not a person. It just means that this photo comes via Getty Images. https://t.co/SZY4yQ0AlI
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) January 7, 2021
I can not believe you had to clarify that
— SarahRogers.psd (@sarahnrogers) January 7, 2021
We need to immediately arrest Via Getty and his accomplices Via Reuters and Via Ap https://t.co/yFPWSKZz2P
— Brian Floyd (@BrianMFloyd) January 7, 2021
“While this “Via Getty” misunderstanding brings some humor to what was truly one of the most unfortunate and even disgusting events in our nation’s history, it highlights too that social media can spread misinformation so very quickly.”
– Via Forbes
— tim whatley (@UTSCCAOKNMOR) January 8, 2021
— Jabes (@Jabes_SSB) January 6, 2021
There’s now even a parody Twitter page for Via Getty at @viagetty.
Via Getty turned out to be Adam Johnson, a 36-year-old Florida man who was arrested, charged with three felonies, and released on $25,000 bail on Monday.
The man who took the speaker’s podium during yesterday’s Capitol riot is not, alas, Via Getty. He’s Adam Johnson, a 36-year-old Florida man, per the Miami Herald. https://t.co/FL1XkCCUuj cc @viagetty
— Felicia Sonmez (@feliciasonmez) January 7, 2021
So if you ever see a photo caption with something like Via Getty or Via Reuters, just know that those are credits for the source of the photo and not the name of a person.