A New York City statue of a doctor who operated on enslaved women was defaced by someone who sprayed the word "racist" on it.
The graffiti on the statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims in Central Park was discovered early Saturday, local media reports.
The word "racist" was written in red paint and the figure's eyes and neck were marked with red paint as well, the New York Daily News reports.
Known as the father of modern gynecology, Sims has been a controversial figure because of his experiments on enslaved African-American women.
“At a time when neo-Nazis, white nationalists and hateful right-wing extremists run rampant throughout the country with impunity, we must send a definitive message that the despicable acts of J. Marion Sims are repugnant and reprehensible,” New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in statement, reports the Amsterdam News.
“J. Marion Sims conducted horrific, painful, medical atrocities on non-anesthetized enslaved black women with free rein,” Mark-Viverito said.
Parks workers arrived later in the day to remove the paint.
A number of other local politicians have called for the statue's removal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.