A 1933 statue on the facade of the central-London headquarters of the BBC, created by a prominent British artist who was claimed to have sexually abused children and a dog, was vandalised with a hammer by a protester on Wednesday. The incident comes just days after a group in another British city were cleared of criminal damage for toppling a statue of a controversial historical figure and throwing it into a harbour.
A man leant an aluminium extending ladder against the front of the London headquarters of state broadcaster the BBC Wednesday evening, allowing him to climb to the decorate stringpiece level with the bottom of statue Prospero and Ariel, which he chipped pieces from with a lump hammer while police watched from below. Also scrawled on the statues were the messages “time to go was 1989”, and “noose all peados [sic]”.
The statue is one of several works on and in the BBC’s Broadcasting House by Eric Gill, who died in 1940. Gill, a favourite of British elite tastes in his own time and whose stylistic influence helped mould the aesthetic of 20th century Britain, was revealed in a biography after his death to have been a sexual abuser who raped his own teenage daughters, sister, and family dog.
Outside BBC right now a man is trying to smash up Eric Gill statue while another man live streams talking about paedophiles. Gill’s horrific crimes are well known. But is this the way? pic.twitter.com/IzFUBIJfwT
— Katie Razzall (@katierazz) January 12, 2022
While the abuse was revealed in the 1980s, it remained comparatively little known outside the art world until recently, when the presence of the artworks by an acknowledged child rapist on the front wall of the BBC, which has faced allegations of harbouring predatory paedophiles in more modern times, became controversial.
The fact the most prominent of Gill’s statues on the BBC headquarters features a naked child likely also contributed. It is probable the message written on the statue Wednesday “time to go was 1989” is a reference to the 1989 biography that revealed to the public for the first time Gill’s abuse.
The vandalism follows the publicity generated by a court case last week that saw four individuals cleared of criminal damage charges for pulling down a statue of a merchant who lived in Georgian England, and throwing it into Bristol Harbour. In the case, the jurors were told by a defence lawyer that in considering their verdict they should make sure to be “on the right side of history”.
British sculptor Eric Gill (1882 – 1940) with his sculpture of Ariel at the front of Broadcasting House (Photo by Howard Coster/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 12: A protester defaces a statue by sculptor Eric Gill (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Another defence lawyer told the court that the statue had been a “cancer” in Bristol that needed to be cut out so the city could heal.
Critics called the acquittal a legal precedent that would give carte-blanche to future statue smashers who could justify vandalism in such terms.
While the Colston statue had few defenders in the wake of its removal by a mob in the establishment media, at least one senior figure in the BBC was quick to leap to the defence of its own controversial artworks. Sharing footage of the attack in progress, BBC News Culture editor Katie Razzall asked, perhaps rhetorically: “Gill’s horrific crimes are well known. But is this the way?”.
Other works by Gill adorn public, private, and religious buildings the length and breadth of Britain, but perhaps his most lasting impact on the built environment was his typographical design, which included the logo and signage for nationwide newsagent WH Smith and others. Most well known was his Gill Sans typeface, which in derivative form was the official font of the BBC, British Railways, and at times even the covers of Penguin paperbacks.
Politico: Insulting Peter Doocy ‘Can Save Biden’s Presidency’
Some establishment media outlets are celebrating President Joe Biden’s rhetorical attack on Fox News’ Peter Doocy this week, calling for more “trash talk” — after describing then-President Donald Trump as a threat to press freedom every time he criticized a journalist.
Politico published an essay on Thursday titled “How Trash Talk Can Save Biden’s Presidency.” It suggests that far from being condemnable, Biden’s attack on Doocy could restore the “vitality” of his flagging presidency:
“What a stupid son of a bitch,” the president muttered, as though to himself, even as a hot mic assured that this sulfurous thought bubble did not stay with himself.
As it happens, Biden’s lapse of presidential decorum hints at a path toward restoring presidential vitality.
The whole encounter — including Doocy’s genial refusal to get all huffy about Biden’s flash of huffiness — was in its own way quite winning. It was also a reminder of how many memorable Biden moments feature casual profanity or bursts of authentic emotion amid the pervasive phoniness of contemporary politics.
There was the famous time when he whispered to President Barack Obama at a White House podium that the passage of health care reform was “a big fucking deal.” Or when he told an Iowa voter who pressed him on his ethical and physical fitness for the presidency that, “You’re a damn liar, man,” before challenging him to a pushup contest. Perhaps Biden’s most memorable moment during the fall 2020 presidential debates was when he responded to former President Donald Trump’s incessant interruptions by rasping, “Will you shut up, man?”
Biden’s long history of bullying journalists and critics is thus transformed into a “winning” and “authentic” style, where Trump’s denunciations of “fake news” were portrayed by Politico as an attack on the First Amendment that invited lawsuits.
Similarly, Fox News’ liberal competitors and critics are using the episode as an excuse to attack the network.
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) January 25, 2022
Notably, Fox News defended other outlets, including rival CNN, against Trump — a courtesy now long forgotten.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
Poll: State Republicans Lead Democrats by Six Points on Generic Ballot
Voters in crucial battleground states favor Republicans at the state legislative level as a way to counter President Joe Biden’s radical left agenda, according to a Cygnal poll.
Republican state legislative candidates lead Democrats by 48 to 42 percent. More than half of those polled said they “would prefer a Republican candidate who would act as a check and balance on President Biden and his Democratic policies.” Just 40 percent of respondents would rather have a pro-Biden Democrat candidate in office.
The survey revealed 62 percent of likely voters believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. In addition, Americans trust Republican candidates to handle the top issues on their minds, like the economy, crime, and education. Democrats have a slight edge on lesser important issues like coronavirus and voting rights.
State Republicans have the edge over Democrats on the economy in general and inflation. The poll found that 51 percent of voters trust Republicans on the economy and 49 percent for inflation at the state level. This is compared to 38 percent support for Democrats on the economy in general and 39 percent on inflation.
The “economy in general” is an important issue for 96 percent of likely voters, and inflation is on the minds of 95 percent of voters.
According to the poll, 74 percent of voters want their state legislates to pass laws that decrease gas and sales taxes amid rising inflation.
The Biden administration’s failure to tackle high and rising inflation pushed consumer sentiment this month to its lowest level in a decade. https://t.co/KfCWTeFptq
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) November 26, 2021
State Republicans similarly dominate Democrats when it comes to controlling crime and violence. Voters favor Republicans by a margin of 49 percent to 39 percent. This issue is important for 94 percent of those surveyed.
Republicans have the advantage again on the issue of education, which is an important issue for 91 percent of likely voters. State Republicans lead on education by one point, 44 percent to 43 percent. Although education typically favors Democrats, the Republican lead is primarily due to the issue of parental control over curriculum. State Republicans have a ten-point advantage, 47 to 37 percent, when it comes to which party “is more trusted to protect parental control in education.”
The poll also found that 67 percent of voters support school choice policies that give families more control to choose the best school for their children.
State Democrats slightly lead Republicans on coronavirus and voting rights, which are important issues for 84 percent and 86 percent of likely voters. On coronavirus, the Democrat lead is 44 percent to 42 percent. For voting rights, their lead is 45 percent to 43 percent.
Cygnal polled 2,217 likely voters across the battleground states of Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin. The poll’s margin of error is ±2.0 percent.
IMF Demands El Salvador Give Up on Bitcoin
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday “urged” El Salvador’s government to rescind the legal tender status it bestowed to Bitcoin, a type of cryptocurrency, in September 2021, indicating that its failure to do so could hinder El Salvador’s intention of securing a future loan from the financial institution.
The IMF’s executive board met with Salvadoran government officials on January 24 for an annual “Article IV consultation,” which serves as a culmination of the IMF’s regular surveillance of a member nation’s economic policies. During the meeting, IMF directors “urged” El Salvador’s government authorities “to narrow the scope of the Bitcoin law by removing Bitcoin’s legal tender status,” according to a press release issued by the organization on January 25.
El Salvador became the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as a legal tender in September 2021. Financial analysts predicted the development could jeopardize El Salvador’s plans at the time to ask the IMF for a loan of $1.3 billion, as the lender views the cryptocurrency world as demonstrating “inadequate disclosure and oversight.” The IMF formally addressed El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin for the first time on January 25 during their consultation.
“[T]here are large risks associated with the use of Bitcoin on financial stability, financial integrity, and consumer protection, as well as the associated fiscal contingent liabilities,” the fund’s board said.
The IMF on Tuesday offered limited praise of El Salvador’s “Chivo e-wallet,” which it said could help facilitate a system of “financial inclusion” in the country in alignment with the international lender’s objectives. El Salvador’s government established the smartphone application-based “Chivo e-wallet” in 2021 to directly support its adoption of Bitcoin as a legal tender. The administration El Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele created the digital payment system to facilitate Salvadorans’ acceptance and use of Bitcoin.
“President Nayib Bukele has said any Salvadoran can download the government digital wallet ‘CHIVO’ — a local word meaning ‘good’ — to accept payments in bitcoin or dollars,” Reuters reported in September 2021.
“Having installed the app on their phones, they will be able to withdraw dollars from government-backed cash machines,” the news agency detailed.
Bukele’s administration said it primarily chose to adopt Bitcoin as a legal tender to help Salvadorans retain a collective $400 million lost each year through traditional remittance transaction fees. Remittances — or money sent home by citizens living abroad — account for roughly 23 percent of El Salvador’s GDP.
“In practice, El Salvador does not have its own currency,” Reuters observed in June 2021.
The Central American nation has continued to use the U.S. dollar as a legal tender (adopted in 2001) in addition to Bitcoin since September 2021.
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