At the State Department‘s request, the US Embassy in Seoul, South Korea has removed a recently added “Black Lives Matter” banner, along with an LGBTQ pride flag.
The “Black Lives Matter” banner was added to the building’s facade by Ambassador Harry Harris on Saturday, June 13, in support of anti-racism protests happening around the globe. The protests were sparked by the death of a black man named George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer on May 25.
The U.S. Embassy stands in solidarity with fellow Americans grieving and peacefully protesting to demand positive change. Our #BlackLivesMatter banner shows our support for the fight against racial injustice and police brutality as we strive to be a more inclusive & just society. pic.twitter.com/Y4Thr2MRdw
— U.S. Embassy Seoul (@USEmbassySeoul) June 13, 2020
The “Black Lives Matter” banner was displayed beneath this rainbow flag for Pride Month. In the US, Pride Month is an annual June celebration to show support for queer and trans rights and to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred in June 1969.
As of Monday, June 15, both the banner and flag have been replaced with one commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Korean War. Senior State Department leadership reportedly asked the US Embassy to remove the “Black Lives Matter” banner from the building to avoid a “misperception” about taxpayer dollars.
The Ambassador decided to put the Black Lives Banner up to communicate a message of solidarity with Americans concerned with racism, especially racial violence against African Americans. He wanted to highlight the enduring American values of racial equality, freedom of speech, and the right to peacefully protest. However, the Ambassador’s intent was not to support or encourage donations to any specific organization. To avoid the misperception that American taxpayer dollars were spent to benefit such organizations, he directed that the banner be removed.
— US Embassy spokesman
In addition to this, Bloomberg News reported that the State Department’s request came after President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo became aware of the “Black Lives Matter” banner.
Pompeo and Trump were both displeased about the banner, the people said.
— Bloomberg News
This photograph, shared at 11:31 PM (KST) on June 14, shows the new Korean War banner on display at the US Embassy.