12 January 2022

Man launches hammer attack on statue by controversial sculptor above entrance to BBC’s Broadcasting House

12 January 2022

A man has launched a hammer attack on a statue on the outside of the BBC’s Broadcasting House in central London.

The Metropolitan Police said officers were called at around 4.15pm on Wednesday to Broadcasting House in Portland Street, Westminster, where the man had used a ladder to reach the 10ft tall figures above the front entrance.

Officers cordoned off the entrance to the building, and London Ambulance Service paramedics also arrived at the scene.

A spokesperson for the Met said: “Officers attended and remain on scene attempting to engage with the man.

“Another man has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage.”

At one point, the man said the statue should have been taken down in the past.

“If this happened decades ago, I wouldn’t be here would I?” he told the negotiators.

The sculpture, depicting Prospero and Ariel from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, was installed in 1933, according to the BBC.

The sculptor, Eric Gill, is said to have sexually abused two of his daughters.

A biography on the Tate museum website said: “His religious views and subject matter contrast with his sexual behaviour, including his erotic art, and (as mentioned in his own diaries) his extramarital affairs and sexual abuse of his daughters, sisters and dog.”

Nearly 2,500 people have previously signed a petition demanding the removal of the sculpture on the website of political activist group 38 Degrees.

A spokeswoman for the BBC declined to comment.

The incident came a week after a jury cleared four people of criminal damage after they pulled down the statue of slave trader Edward Colston.

The bronze memorial to the 17th century figure was pulled down during a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol on June 7 2020, before being rolled into the water, and those responsible were acquitted on January 5 following an 11-day trial at the Old Bailey.

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