Take 'em all down? 10 of the world's iconic statues and why they could be removed
In the wake of the violent clashes between white supremacists and counter-protestors over the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, seemingly every memorial and monument around the globe is now under fire. While tearing down tributes to slave-owners and secessionists is one thing, Fox News takes a look at how far this frenzied fad could go.
The 151-foot-tall copper statue in New York Harbor has been a beacon of freedom and the first sight of the United States that many new immigrants see since its completion in 1886. Seems like something every American can rally around, right? Think again. First, let’s take a look at the torch she has hoisted into the air. While Lady Liberty herself might be green, that eternal flame certainly isn’t and until some solar panels are installed on the statue some environmental activists might take offense with her promotion of the fossil fuel industry. Then there is the famous sonnet to the “Mother of Exiles” penned by Emma Lazarus on the pedestal’s lower level. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Sounds like a call for unchecked immigration and weakened borders. Whichever side of the political spectrum you lie on, the Statue of Liberty may not be as innocuous as you once thought.
Looming over Rio de Janeiro, the Christ the Redeemer statue has become one of the icons of Brazil’s most famous city and must visit locale for anybody heading to the South American nation. But why does Jesus get an enormous statue in Rio and not Buddha, Muhammad or even the satanic goat-lord Baphomet? Sure more than 88 percent of Brazil’s population in Christian – and it's home to more Roman Catholics than any other country in the world – but fair is fair. And while we’re at it, how good of a guy was Jesus anyway? Admittedly, he turned water into wine and raised people from the dead, but didn’t he also hang out with hookers and trash Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem?
Michelangelo left nothing to the imagination in his famed sculpture of biblical hero David. The statue, which sits inside the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence, Italy, shows a contemplative David apparently readying himself for battle against Goliath – although he should probably be readying himself to put on some clothes. With artists in Germany already covering up a statue of a nude Aphrodite in Dresden so as not to offend some of the newly arrived migrants fleeing the violence in war-torn Middle Eastern nations, it seems like only a matter of time before somebody in Italy tries to put some pants on this guy.
Speaking of nudity, the Danish really went all out in their famed depiction of The Little Mermaid. Sitting on a rock by the waterside along the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen, the bronze statue certainly doesn’t look like Ariel from the Disney film. The nude depiction of the famed mermaid has for years been the target of vandals and protests – including two decapitations and twice being dressed in a burqa to protest Turkey’s application to join the European Union. In 2006, the statue had green paint dumped on it and a certain phallic sex toy placed in her hand as part of a protest over International Women’s Day. Earlier this year it was covered in red paint to protest whaling off the nearby Faroe Islands. How long until someone decides it needs to end up “Under the Sea?”
While it is still unknown why the ancient inhabitants of Easter Island created the famed giant stone structures, it is understood that they trashed their land to do it. Long before Greenpeace activists were chaining themselves to trees and the Earth Liberation Front began blowing up logging operations, these Polynesian polluters were creating an environmental wasteland on their isolated island. But environmentalists can take pleasure in pointing to Easter Island as a cautionary lesson: the island’s inhabitants became so obsessed with making Moai that after cutting down all the trees their society disappeared due to warfare and widespread famine.
When this sculpture was unveiled outside the Franz Kafka Museum in Prague back in 2004, a real pissing match ensued…literally. Named “Proudly” by artist David Cerny, the sculpture of two serrated bronze figures urinating at each other is better known to the world as “Peeing Guys” and has stirred controversy ever since.
Apparently laws against child abuse were a lot more lax in Switzerland back in the 16th century. The Kindlifresser, which translates to “Child Eater,” is a terrifying statue in the Swiss city of Bern that features a giant munching on a child with a sack of terrified tots slung over his shoulder. Where was Save the Children back in the 1500s when someone decided that it was a good idea to put up a monument to this moppet-munching maniac? To make matters, nobody is sure why this statue even exists, but there is speculation that it was erected as a warning to the city’s Jewish community, as the Kindlifresser’s hat bears a striking resemblance to the yellow pointed Judenhut that Jews were forced to wear at that time.
If you’re worried about your child’s safety after seeing the Kindlifresser, then you might want to avoid the McDonald’s in Best, Holland. Sitting in the parking lot, a 30-foot tall statue of Michael Jackson stands over the fast-food eatery and, while it has become a gathering place for fans of the King of Pop since his 2009 death, it is Jackson’s tainted legacy that makes the memorial to MJ so controversial. With Jackson’s career and legacy damaged by numerous child sexual abuse allegations – along with a bunch of other weird stuff – is it really the best idea to have his likeness looming over a restaurant whose most famous spokesperson is a hamburger-loving clown and whose establishments regularly feature a children’s play place?
Two of the 20th century’s greatest leaders sit on a bench in London. What could go wrong? Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Sir Winston Churchill may have helped guide the Allies to victory in World War II and beat down a fascist advance on the Free World, but neither was without controversy. Churchill was a sharp-tongued and hard drinking figure, who despite fighting the Nazis harbored his own prejudices toward Jews, Muslims and non-white folk. Oh yeah, he is also responsible for giving the okay to Allied bombing missions on German cities that kids thousands of civilians. And don’t think the polio-stricken architect of the New Deal is going to get off easy. Sure he helped bring the United States out of the Great Depression and is generally considered an advocate for civil rights, but FDR also denied a boatful of Jews escaping Europe from entering the U.S., incarcerated thousands of Japanese-Americans on the West Coast and opposed anti-lynching legislation. If that’s not enough, both Churchill and Roosevelt buddied up with Soviet leader Josef Stalin during World War II, a guy responsible for killing at least 20 million people!
This one is personal for us here at Fox. The bust of Bart Simpson went up in front of the Fox News offices a few years ago and while it has been generally well received, the Bartman is not without controversy. Over the show's decades-long run, the perennial 10-year-old has been criticized for being a chauvinist, an underachiever and a bad example for kids to emulate. In a 1991 interview, Bill Cosby said Bart was a bad role model and described him as "angry, confused, frustrated.” But that was in 1991 when Cosby seemed more authoritative on the matter and wasn’t standing trial for drugging and raping numerous women.
(Fox News/ Andrew O'reilly)