Advanced Graphics, a Utah company in its 25th year of producing cardboard cutouts, released its Obama during election season. Many fans have posed for photos next to the life-size model of Obama, which is popular at sites around Washington, D.C. The cutout even made it to a funeral home in Jersey. Then the online magazine The Root published the story "Black President, White Hands?" in which the author said the body on the cutout appeared to have been grafted from a heavier, white man.
Not true, said Steve Hoagland, vice president of Advanced Graphics. The cutout's hands "certainly were not white," he said.
The cutout was pulled from the line recently, Hoagland said, because the firm learned that Obama does not wear glasses. (The original Obama cutout is holding a pair of glasses and isn't wearing a wedding ring.) As Hoagland tells it, a retailer contacted Advanced a couple of weeks ago to report he had heard from a customer who said the real Obama signed his cutout and remarked that he knew the hands weren't "his" because he wouldn't be holding glasses.
"Seconds after getting the call we pulled them," Hoagland said of the original cutouts, although "tens of thousands" had been sold to distributors. "It's really about respecting the man himself. We take this as serious as can be."
Advanced Graphics ordered up two new sets of cutouts: one with the president behind a lectern and another with Obama standing with arms folded in front of him.
Hoagland said he checked both original photos to be sure the cardboard body was indeed the president's.
He doesn't know what happened the first time around.
"I don't know whose hands they were," he said.