White House scolds guests who flipped off Reagan portrait

Olivier Knox
The Ticket

The White House on Monday verbally rapped the knuckles of a pair of guests who posed for photographs giving former President Ronald Reagan's portrait the one-finger salute while attending a gay pride reception a week ago.

As first reported in Philadelphia Magazine, Matthew "Matty" Hart and photographer Zoe Strauss flipped off the Gipper's likeness and posted the pictures on their Facebook pages. The magazine posted the photographs.

"While the White House does not control the conduct of guests at receptions, we certainly expect that all attendees conduct themselves in a respectful manner. Most all do," a spokesman for President Barack Obama, Shin Inouye, said by email on Monday.

"These individuals clearly did not. Behavior like this doesn't belong anywhere, least of all in the White House," Inouye said. Reagan is a conservative icon but is reviled by gay activists who charge, among other things, that he ignored the burgeoning HIV/AIDS crisis.