Photos of Ohio teens removed from site for Gov. Noem’s coalition following calls from Ohio legislator

South Dakota News

CLEVELAND, OH (KELO) — As of 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, photos featuring members of the Lady Explorers, athletes from a high school in Hudson, Ohio, have been removed from the website for Governor Kristi Noem’s new “Defend Title IX Now” coalition. This follows more than 12 hours of demands from Ohio state Rep. Casey Weinstein (D) that the photos be removed.

Wednesday morning, Weinstein announced via Twitter that he has sent a formal letter to Governor Kristi Noem, demanding answers relation to her new coalition, which he describes as “transphobic.”

Tweet sent Wednesday morning by Rep. Weinstein
Letter sent Wednesday morning by Rep. Weinstein

In the letter, Weinstein asks Noem the following questions:

  1. “Did you secure the permission to use these photographs from the featured student-athletes, the athletes’ parents, and the Hudson High School Athletics Department before hosting them on your website?”
  2. “What connects the Hudson High School Athletics Department with the State of South Dakota and House Bill 1217?”
  3. “Why were the Hudson Lady Explorers featured on DefendTitleIXnow.com?”

Following the questions, Weinstein states; “If you did not secure permission to feature the Hudson Lady Explorers, I must ask you to remove their photographs immediately.”

He goes on to state that it is “inappropriate to promote minor who do not necessarily agree with your transphobic policies as the face of your campaign.”

In his tweet, Weinstein states that if he does not receive a response soon, he will be taking “next steps”. These ‘next steps’ could refer to an official freedom of information act (FOIA) request, which could force the revelation of such information as the owner/registrant of www.defendtitleixnow.com, which is currently not known to the public.

Weinstein tweeted an update early Wednesday afternoon after the pictures of Hudson girls were pulled from the site.

Tweet from Rep. Weinstein

The images have been replaced with photos of different female athletes. These have been sourced to two royalty-free websites, adobe.stock.com and istockphoto.com.

KELOLAND News has reached out to the governor’s office for comment on the letter, and received this in response:

“The rights to the photographs were properly obtained by the web developer. They’ve obtained additional rights to new photographs that are now on the website.”

Ian Fury, communications director for Gov. Noem

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