Yosi Sergant speaking at the opening of Manifest Hope, Washington, DC art show
|Born||August 14, 1976|
|Known for||Marketing for 2008 Obama presidential campaign, specifically "Hope" poster|
Sergant holds a degree in World Arts and Culture from UCLA. Early in his career he worked for Yitzhak Rabin and Larry Clark. After the 2008 campaign, Sergant joined the White House's Office of Public Liaison and on May 11, 2009, Sergant was appointed Director of Communications for the National Endowment for the Arts.
On August 10, 2009, Sergant participated in a conference call about United We Serve, a government program which encouraged community service in four areas chosen by the Corporation for National Service.
On August 25, 2009, Sergant's former employer Patrick Courrielche blogged about the call on a website run by conservative activist Andrew Breitbart calling it "a gross overreach of the National Endowment for the Arts." This initial report included only brief excerpts from the call, which Courrielche secretly recorded, but alleged that the NEA was attempting to use its influence to have artists create work in support of the Obama Administration's domestic policy.
On August 27, The Washington Times reported that Sergant stated that the NEA did not organize the call. Courrielche produced an invite forwarded by Sergant, which he said contradicted the communications director's claim. On September 1, 2009, Alex Beam referenced Courrielche's report in his Boston Globe column and Courrielche appeared on Fox News with host Glenn Beck. Sergant was eventually reassigned to the title of New Media and Special Projects Advisor.
Courrielche did not release the full audio and transcript of the call until September 21, 2009. Reacting to the full transcript, arts journalist Ben Davis, of ArtNet, argued that the full text exonerated Sergant, and called the attack "politically motivated and built on mostly fabricated information". Jeff Chang, noted hip-hop journalist, called the episode the beginning of the "new face of the Culture Wars". While arguing that Courrielche "misconstrued the purpose of the call", the White House later issued new guidelines to help staffers avoid any appearance of impropriety. On the same day, Chairman Landesman issued a statement stating that the call was not a means to promote any legislative agenda but rather to inform members of the arts community of an opportunity to become involved in volunteerism through the United We Serve program, and also that some of Sergant's language may have been inappropriate. His statement also noted that the call had nothing to do with grantmaking. On September 24, 2009, the NEA announced that "effective immediately", Sergant had resigned from the organization. Sergant later stated "They targeted me,".
- Mcdonald, Seven (September 10, 2008). "Yosi Sergant and the Art of Change: The Publicist Behind Shepard Fairey's Obama Hope Posters". Village Voice Media (LA Weekly). Retrieved March 24, 2009.
- "White House Poetry Jam Follows Morning Arts Meeting". Washington Post. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- "Official dishonesty from the National Endowment for the Arts". The Washington Times. September 1, 2009. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- "The art of agitprop". Boston Globe. September 1, 2009. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- "Is National Endowment for the Arts Pushing Obama Administration's Agenda?". Fox News. September 1, 2009. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- Michael Fletcher, washingtonpost.com, September 10, 2009, Beck Strikes Again; Yosi Sergant Reassigned at NEA
- ABC News, September 11, Yosi Sergant : The Next Van Jones?
- Ben Davis, THE NEW CULTURE WARS, artnet Magazine.
- "Jeff Chang: The New Shape of the Culture War: Glenn Beck, Yosi Sergant, Van Jones, and Hip-Hop". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- Bill Burton (September 24, 2009). "White House Counsel Guidelines for Public Outreach Meetings". Whitehouse.gov. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- "Statement from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman". Arts.gov. September 22, 2009. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- "Yosi Sergant Resigns". September 24, 2009. Retrieved September 25, 2009.
- "No Longer at the NEA, Yosi Sergant Is Back Among the Artists". March 3, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
- "Manifest Equality art show in Hollywood displays love, civil rights in the time of Prop. 8 – Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. March 4, 2010. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- "Reform School NYC x Shepard Fairey – OBEY GIANT". Obeygiant.com. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- Evolutionary Media Group homepage
- About United We Serve
- Originally released full audio and transcript of August 10 conference call
- New Culture Wars, ArtNet
- Blog comment on The New Shape of the Culture War: Glenn Beck, Yosi Sergant, Van Jones, and Hip-Hop, The Huffington Post
- After 'Inappropriate' NEA Conference Call, White House Pushes New Guidelines, ABC News
- Yosi Sergant Gets Hypovehiculated, Wall Street Journal
- Statement from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman, National Endowment for the Arts Website
- The art of agitprop, Boston Globe
- Official dishonesty from the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington Times
- Administration backs off NEA call, Politico
- Yosi Sergant And The Art Of Right Wing Hysteria, Neon Tommy