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.
(Update at 5:44 p.m.: The Kim Jong Un face has been removed.)
The Bill Cosby mural at Ben’s Chili Bowl has been defaced. As in, literally.
A street artist going by the name “Smear Leader”affixed the grinning visage of Kim Jong Un on top of Cosby’s head some time within the past 24 hours. The artist took credit for the piece earlier today on Instagaram.
“Instead of looking at a sexual predator, people can celebrate in jubilation that the great leader is now on the their wall,” the post reads. “Eat sh-t Cosby.”
Why Kim Jong Un? As detailed in a recent interview with The Daily Beast, vandalizing things with Kim Jong Un’s face is kind of Smear Leader’s thing.
— Tim Regan (@MrTimRegan) September 19, 2015
We reached out to Smear Leader via e-mail earlier today. This afternoon, he responded:
“I drew the original piece but get them printed now due to the overwhelming demand for them on our site,” he said. “We have them posted all over the world from Australia, Kazakstan, South Korea, Russia, Brazil, you name it, the Leader is somewhere smiling.”
When asked whether he was afraid of being identified on the eatery’s security cameras, Smear Leader said, “as far as the security camera thing goes, I was aware of that but the fact that they still have that monster Cosby up on their mural is a risk worth taking.
Smear Leader continues: “It’s even more of an outrage that they have said nothing and distanced themselves from the situation that a man used his power to take advantage and sexually assault over 35 women. If you had a friend who did this, would you do the same thing?”
“Why Kim Jong Un?” he added. “The man is happily married with a beautiful daughter and works to make a better life for his people. Some may disagree but between the two of them in comparison to one another but it’s not even a debate. Cosby is Slime and as long as Ben’s allows his face to be up there, they don’t have the right to be upset at ANY criticism coming their way.”
A representative from Ben’s Chili Bowl was not available to comment.