Brandon Stanton is considered royalty amongst the world of photojournalism. As the creator of the iconic photo series known as Humans of New York, the American photographer and blogger has amassed over 17 million likes on Facebook and 4.6 million followers on Instagram.
What made Stanton a household name was his ability to capture ordinary people of all walks of life on the streets as they tell their own story in a short caption.
His work holds such influence in digital media today that he’s even met with the UN to photograph and interview Middle Eastern refugees as well as meeting with Barack Obama at the White House.
As an icon of New York himself like Donal Trump, Stanton has finally broken his political silence and chimed in on what he calls a moral standing as opposed to a political one. It’s little wonder his open letter is now going viral.
Read the powerful message from Stanton below.
An Open Letter to Donald Trump:
I try my hardest not to be political. I’ve refused to interview several of your fellow candidates. I didn’t want to risk any personal goodwill by appearing to take sides in a contentious election. I thought: ‘Maybe the timing is not right.’ But I realize now that there is no correct time to oppose violence and prejudice. The time is always now. Because along with millions of Americans, I’ve come to realize that opposing you is no longer a political decision. It is a moral one.
I’ve watched you retweet racist images. I’ve watched you retweet racist lies. I’ve watched you take 48 hours to disavow white supremacy. I’ve watched you joyfully encourage violence, and promise to ‘pay the legal fees’ of those who commit violence on your behalf. I’ve watched you advocate the use of torture and the murder of terrorists’ families. I’ve watched you gleefully tell stories of executing Muslims with bullets dipped in pig blood. I’ve watched you compare refugees to ‘snakes,’ and claim that ‘Islam hates us.’
I am a journalist, Mr. Trump. And over the last two years I have conducted extensive interviews with hundreds of Muslims, chosen at random, on the streets of Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan. I’ve also interviewed hundreds of Syrian and Iraqi refugees across seven different countries. And I can confirm— the hateful one is you.
Those of us who have been paying attention will not allow you to rebrand yourself. You are not a ‘unifier.’ You are not ‘presidential.’ You are not a ‘victim’ of the very anger that you’ve joyfully enflamed for months. You are a man who has encouraged prejudice and violence in the pursuit of personal power. And though your words will no doubt change over the next few months, you will always remain who you are.