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Cosby v. Kim: Do You Back Street Artist Who Defaced Ben’s Mural?

by Andrew Ramonas October 23, 2015 at 11:55 am 3 Comments

Ben's Chili Bowl mural on Oct. 19

When a North Korean dictator temporarily ousted an American comedian accused of rape from a mural on Ben’s Chili Bowl earlier this week, some people cheered. Others weren’t as pleased.

Though many have agreed the Cosby mural needs to go, some criticized the pasted-on art as being unfair to the artist who painted the mural, Aniekan Udofia. During a “Kojo Nnamdi Show” interview earlier this week, Udofia said he was upset that the street artist affixed a grinning visage of Kim Jong Un over Cosby’s face, calling it “disrespectful.”

Smear Leader, the artist who defaced Udofia’s mural, told Washingtonian the art was a “success,” and that his aim was to generate discussion about Cosby’s place on the mural, not diss a respected local muralist.

But even some who loudly criticize the Cosby mural don’t agree with Smear Leader’s approach.

Devin Boyle, who wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post calling for the controversial mural to be painted over and launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to help fund a replacement work of art, said defacing the mural was “counterproductive” to bringing about change.

“At the end of the day, he is someone [the owners] have respected for so long,” said Boyle, a 30-year-old public relations professional who lives on U Street.

What do you think? Do you back the street artist who defaced the Cosby mural at Ben’s, or do you think the act was disrespectful to the muralist? Weigh in by voting in the poll and telling us what you think in the comments.

  • KW

    Regardless of your opinion of Bill Cosby, this mural is someone else’s artwork and was commissioned by the restauranteur. I think Cosby is abhorrent and would like to see his image wiped from the mural, however, it is not my choice to make. I will make my opinion known by not patronizing a restaurant that supports a rapist.

    • UrbanEngineer

      Does Ben’s still have all the pictures of him up on the inside and all the signs that say he eats for free?

  • Street I Am

    The only thing that Street I am is concerned with is keeping the streets safe for people to express without bullying from the left and right extremists who want to bully artists and property holders. Would prefer to see this defacer create a mural of their own and put Cosby in his place creatively.


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