Tuesday, 18 Jan 2022

Activist scales Broadcasting House and damages controversial statue

Hammer-wielding man climbs ladder at BBC Broadcasting House and attempts to destroy statue by infamous paedophile sculptor Eric Gill – as police stand by doing NOTHING

  • Eric Gill’s statue Prospero And Ariel stands in front of BBC’s Broadcasting House
  • Gill’s diary, published in 1980s, revealed he molested his daughters and his dog
  • Campaigners have long called for statue’s removal from its prominent position
  • Incident is ongoing with the police saying they are trying to engage with the man
  • Another man in custody on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage

An activist has taken a hammer to a controversial sculpture that stands above the BBC’s Broadcasting House.

The statute – Prospero and Ariel – was made by artist Eric Gill and campaigners have long asked for it to be removed after it was revealed that Gill sexually abused his two eldest daughters.

His 1932 statue, which is inspired by Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, occupies a prominent position at the entrance to the BBC’s Broadcasting House in Portland Place, London.

Police look on as activist attempts to damage a statue by Eric Gill on BBC Broadcasting House

Officers cordon off the area as the activist is seen attempting to damage the statue

A cordon was put in place and police officers stood on guard as the man, who appeared to have used a ladder to reach the statue, began hammering away at it.

Meanwhile, another man live-streamed the incident on social media before police intervened. 

Video from the scene showed the man repeatedly smashing the statue with the hammer. 

It is understood the incident began at about 4pm and is ongoing with both the Metropolitan Police and London Ambulance Service on scene.  

The man appears to have used a ladder to access the 10ft statue and hit it with a hammer

Police say they were called shortly after 4pm after receiving reports of a man damaging a statue and cordoned off the entrance to the building.

A spokesman for the force 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.

‘Enquiries remain ongoing.’ 

Eric Gill was one of the most respected artists of the 20th century when he died in 1940.

However his diaries, published in 1989, revealed that he regularly abused his daughters Betty and Petra, as well as the family dog.

Sexual abuse survivors charities have long called for the statue’s removal, especially after the Jimmy Savile revelations 

Gill’s other famous works include The Creation of Adam, three bas-reliefs in stone for the League of Nations building in Geneva, from 1938 and the Gill Sans and Perpetua typeface, which he created in the late 1920s. 

The BBC has been contacted for comment but has previously said there are no plans to remove the statue.

The corporation has previously described the statue ‘as a metaphor for broadcasting, executed by one of the last century’s major British artists whose work has been widely displayed in leading UK museums and galleries’.

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