- By Lewis Brackpool
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Armed with a hammer and chisel, a protester scaled a ladder to deface a statue outside the BBC headquarters in London with the words “paedos and propaganda,” and “noose all paedos.”
The statue in question was erected in 1933 by sculpture Eric Gill, who was revealed to have sexually abused his daughters, sister, and even the family dog in 1989. Gill died in 1940, but aspects of his life were published in a biography by Fiona MacCarthy, which went into great detail about his sexual abuse.
According to The Telegraph, the protester, when confronted by police, reportedly said that the statue have been removed “decades ago.”
The man, who was not identified by police, was arrested after a four-hour standoff, police used a crane to remove him from the 10ft statue, which is a depiction of Ariel from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest as a young boy, naked.
The Telegraph reported:
The phrase “Time to go was 1989” was also daubed on the statue – a reference to the year in which Gill’s diaries were unearthed, revealing his sexual crimes.
Gill’s statue has garnered controversy since its installation 88 years ago, when critics voiced concern over the size of the boy’s genitalia – prompting the tabling of a question in the House of Commons.
The incident comes just days after four defendants were cleared of any wrongdoing for pulling down the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol during a Black Lives Matter protest. The court’s refusal to hold the defendants accountable for destroying the statue has set a legal precedent that may allow any member of the British public to destroy a public work of art without punishment, as long as they claim offence.
“Coming just a week after the Colston verdict, this attack demonstrates that it was indeed a ‘vandal’s charter’ placing all of our built heritage at increased risk,” stated Robert Poll, founder of the campaign group Save Our Statues, per Summit News.
“We have now entered a new age of barbarism, where the value of art is judged only by the politics imposed upon it, and destruction is considered progressive,” he said.
Many have questioned as to why the BBC did not previously remove the statue of Ariel by Eric Gill after revelations of his incest and rape of his family members were made public. The publicly-funded news broadcaster has previously faced criticism for having knowingly employed child-rapist Jimmy Saville, whose numerous rapes and molestations of children were covered up for years by staff at the company.