The New York Police Department is investigating poster vandalism as a possible hate crime.
The posters in question feature U.S. soccer player Megan Rapinoe — an openly gay activist and vocal critic of President Donald Trump and his administration — with demeaning words and phrases scrawled across her face and body.
The posters — put up in celebration of the U.S. women’s soccer team World Cup win — were reportedly discovered in a subway station on Monday.
What are the details?
On Wednesday, CNN reported that the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force began an investigation into the posters with offending messages this week.
“The New York Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating after posters of USA soccer star Megan Rapinoe were vandalized in a subway station,” the outlet reported. “Eight posters featuring Rapinoe in her U.S. Women’s National Team jersey included homophobic and defamatory slurs along with the phrase ‘Screw this ho.”
One of the posters also reportedly called Rapinoe a “shemale,” according to the New York Post.
In a statement, MTA Deputy Communications Director Shams Tarek said, “Hate has no place in the transit system and we work hard to make the subway a welcoming, safe environment for everyone.” Tarek added that some of the posters were restored to their original condition, while others were replaced altogether.
Tarek’s statement added, “We referred this to NYPD which responded to investigate. Our maintenance teams got the posters cleaned and we will have them replaced with new ones if necessary.”
USA Today reported that the posters were discovered around the Bryant Park subway stop Monday morning.
On Wednesday, the U.S. women’s national soccer team celebrated its World Cup victory at a parade in lower Manhattan. In remarks during the parade, Rapinoe said, “We have to love more. Hate less. We got to listen more and talk less. We got to know that this is everybody’s responsibility. Every single person here. Every single person’s who’s not here. Every single person who doesn’t want to be here. Every single person who agrees and doesn’t agree. It’s our responsibility to make this world a better place.”
During the parade, New York City Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Bill de Blasio celebrated Rapinoe and the rest of the team.
“This team has shown an undeniable truth, an inalienable right — that the equality of women must be guaranteed in this nation,” de Blasio said in his remarks. “They have inspired millions and millions, and they have inspired particularly young women to believe in themselves, to be brave, to be bold, to be fierce.”