Fact Check: United Nations Did NOT Replace Nation Flags With Rainbow Flags -- Photo Shows Rockefeller Center Pride Month Celebration

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: United Nations Did NOT Replace Nation Flags With Rainbow Flags -- Photo Shows Rockefeller Center Pride Month Celebration Photo Not UN

Did the United Nations Headquarters in New York City replace the iconic display of flags from the 193 member nations with rainbow flags for Pride Month? No, that's not true: The mislabeled photo included in a tweet does not depict the United Nations but shows the Pride Month display of flags circling The Rink at privately owned Rockefeller Center in New York City.

The image posted in a tweet (archived here) by Jaimee Michell @thegaywhostrayd on June 8, 2023, was captioned:

Imagine thinking gay people are oppressed in America πŸ€£πŸ’€ GIRL BYE
I'm so beyond sick of this and I'm GAY. Truly can't even imagine how straight people feel having this shoved down their throats nonstop.

This is what the post looked like on Twitter at the time of writing:

flagstweet.jpgTwitter screenshot

(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Tue Jun 13 15:05:55 2023 UTC)

This picture does not show the United Nations but a Pride Month display at Rockefeller Center. The events calendar on www.rockefellercenter.com says the free celebration will run from June 1 - June 30:

The Pride Month celebration has become a staple of Rockefeller Center's programming, playing a key role in ensuring there's an inclusive and diverse space for all in the heart of Midtown. Throughout the month of June, our campus will be awash in signs and symbols of Pride with rainbow pathways, hundreds of Pride flags surrounding The Rink, and vinyl decals decorating its spaces. Select retailers will announce limited-edition offerings, discounts, and activations for the month-long celebration.

The composite image below compares the miscaptioned photo from the tweet to a 2020 Street View image of The Rink at Rockefeller Center. In the larger image international flags are flying and people are ice skating. The tall building in the center of the scene above the gold statue of Prometheus is the Comcast Building, at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Directly across West 50th Street is the building of the Nastasi Group.


(Image source: Lead Stories composite image with instantstreetview.com and Twitter screenshots taken on Tue Jun 13 16:17:03 2023 UTC)

The international flags flying from the 193 flag poles at The Rink are the mainstay, but they are sometimes replaced with decorative flags, such as plain silver and gold flags for the holidays, red and gold promotional flags of Flippers Roller Boogie Palace or a 2020 public art installation called "The Flag Project." The Google satellite view (pictured below) is dated 2023 and shows Rockefeller Center converted for summer roller skating. The flags around the plaza appear to be the rainbow flags that will be there for the duration of June 2023.


(Source: instantstreetview.com screenshot taken on Tue Jun 13 15:05:55 2023 UTC)

The United Nations has 193 member nation flags plus two flags from the observer states, the Holy See and the State of Palestine.

Another tweet (archived here) posted on June 4, 2023, shows a picture of the UN with no flags on the poles. The caption asks, "What is going on at the U.N? I'm hearing it's been shut down, diplomats arrested, apparently."

There are many photos of the UN without the flags; this is not a sign of anything other than a weekend. A FAQ at ask.un.org tells about how the flags are raised:

The flags are raised manually by UN Security officers every weekday morning at approximately 8am and lowered every weekday at around 4pm, except in the cases of bad weather. The flags are organized in English alphabetical order from north to south. On weekends, only the UN flag is raised.

The instantstreetview.com image (pictured below) shows the member nation flags flying at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, as seen looking across 1st Avenue from East 44th Street.


(Image source: 2022 Google Street View image screenshot taken on Tue Jun 13 16:17:03 2023 UTC)

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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