NEW YORK (AP) — Jane Rosenberg’s courtroom drawing of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is everywhere and now so is she, fending off cyberbullies who disparage her along the way.
She’s on network television, the radio, in newspapers and across the Internet. Everywhere she goes, so goes her sketch of an edgy Brady in a Manhattan federal courtroom Wednesday, when lawyers argued whether it’s fair to suspend him for four games because a Patriots’ employee deflated footballs before the Jan. 18 AFC championship game, which New England won.
The pastel sketch has been criticized as making Brady look like an aging cartoon villain or a character from “The Walking Dead,” or appear as if his face is melting. It’s been superimposed upon “E.T.,” Michael Jackson performing “Thriller” and the figure in Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” depictions that make Rosenberg laugh. See a sampling of the sketch and the memes here: http://bit.ly/1P7Cp89
Rosenberg said Friday she feels bullied by scores of nasty emails.
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“You are absolutely the worst artist I have ever seen,” snarled one. “Absolutely horrible depiction of the football player!” cried another.
She also has received positive emails, including from courtroom artists nationwide offering her support.
“I’m really having a rough time. This is so not my life,” Rosenberg said.
She said at first: “I thought I might crawl under a pillow and never come out.”
Talking has been therapeutic.
Generally apologetic, Rosenberg quickly expressed sorrow because she tries “to make people happy.”
Rosenberg, largely unaware of social media before Wednesday, got a fast lesson when she emerged from court feeling good she accomplished three sketches, including a wide rendering with the 1-square-inch depiction of Brady that became an Internet sensation.
“All his fans are focused on that little image of Brady,” she said. “He didn’t look happy at all. But nobody looks happy in court.”
He smiled at dozens of photographers as he left the courthouse.
“It wasn’t my goal to make a photograph of him in the building but to show the feeling of what was going on … inside the courtroom,” Rosenberg said.
She said she’s been kept busy since by endless interviews. The Associated Press has hired Rosenberg in the past, though not for Brady’s hearing.
Before Wednesday, Rosenberg labored largely in obscurity for 35 years, earning a reputation for candid and accurate portrayals of the notable and the notorious, including the late Gambino crime family boss John Gotti, Ponzi king Bernie Madoff, celebrity homemaker Martha Stewart, comedian Bill Cosby, singer Mick Jagger and scores of terrorists.
In 2000, a terrorism defendant leaped over a railing and ran toward her before U.S. Marshals tackled him a few feet away. “It was pretty scary and my heart was pounding,” she said.
She recalls Gotti gesturing to her to thin his chin and a murder suspect saying: “Don’t make me look like a monster.”
She’s grateful Brady won’t be in court next Wednesday so her next drawing won’t be scrutinized.
If she met him, she said: “I’d probably say I’m sorry I didn’t make you look as handsome as you really are.”
As for her feelings, “I’m having so much attention that maybe when I’m left to my own devices, lonely in my own life, maybe,” she said, “I’ll cry.”