You never know which choices in life are going to reverberate throughout the years ahead. The blind date you almost skipped, but hey, now you’re married to that person. The time you went to help your friend choose a cat to adopt, and walked out with a dog friend for life. Or the time you did a stock photo shoot for satirical feminist site Reductress, and your life changed forever.
That’s Jim Murtagh, a singer/songwriter and illustrator who also happens to be Reductress’s go-to face when they run a headline about a shitty dude. In a conversation with MEL, Murtagh talks about how he would up sitting for these fateful images, what it’s like to be the default for ‘horrible man’ in face only, and how his family feels about it.
From the story:
Fortunately for Murtagh, he’s never had “anyone actively think it’s real,” but friends and family often wonder if people will start to “subconsciously associate me with all these awful things because it’s always my picture with the headlines.”
Murtagh knows a few other people who have appeared in photos for Reductress articles, “but they never seem to be paired with headlines like mine.” For example, back when he went to that fateful photoshoot — per the photo’s metadata, his fate was sealed at exactly 2:49 p.m on November 28, 2016 — another friend accompanied him. “They posed me with the computer and him with one of their female writers, so all of his images turned into headlines about him having a ‘huge dick,’” Murtagh laments. “I’m like, ‘Why does he get that one, and I’m always screaming at women about #MeToo?!?!’”
The truly wonderful thing here is that even if Murtagh is a nice guy (we have no reason to doubt him and he seems relatively sanguine about the whole thing) there’s just almost no way to say “Hey I’m not actually an asshole I promise” in a way that won’t sound like another Reductress headline.
It’s not the first time MEL has sought out the person behind the satirical headline; they had a similar conversation with our own Erik “Mr. Autumn Man” Adams in 2019. That one’s worth a read, too—but you could also save it for sometime in September.
The good news for poor old Jim Murtagh is that even though it may feel that way, he is not, in fact, the only stock photo male asshole at Reductress. There’s also this guy:
We look forward to his interview.
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