UK: Sculpture by controversial artist attacked with hammer

LONDON (AP) – British police cordoned off an area outside the BBC Broadcasting House in central London on Wednesday after a man was seen climbing the building and using a hammer to attack a statue by controversial sculptor Eric Gill.

Officers and paramedics rush to the scene after receiving reports that a man used a ladder to reach the 10-foot-high sculpture above the main entrance to the building. The sculpture, depicting Ariel and Prospero from Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest”, was installed in the 1930s.

It was created by Gill, a prominent British artist who died in 1940. His diaries, which were published decades after his death, revealed that he sexually abused his daughters and the family dog.

The sculpture had already drawn criticism and activist groups called for its removal.

Metropolitan Police said officers attempted to “engage with the man” and another man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage.

The incident came a week after a jury cleared four protesters of criminal damage after they shot down a statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston during a Black Lives Matter protest in the city of Bristol in June 2020. The four protesters, who threw the statue into the harbor after overturning it, were acquitted on January 5 after an 11-day trial.

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