In the last few weeks, the “Fearless Girl” statue in New York’s Financial District has quickly become a popular feminist symbol, but not everyone’s a fan. On Monday, Gothamist published photos provided by a “tipster” of two men covering the “Fearless Girl” statue in Trump gear and symbols of white nationalism. Given our current political climate (and, you know, centuries of culturally sanctioned misogyny), it’s not surprising that a symbol of female power and defiance would be the target of vandalism, but it’s disappointing and disturbing nevertheless.
Following its installation across from Wall Street’s “Charging Bull” in early March, the “Fearless Girl” statue has attracted droves of visitors who see the figure — posed with hands on hips, defiantly facing off against the massive bull — as a positive emblem of female strength. The statue has been controversial in some quarters, with critics raising a skeptical brow at the statue’s origins as a PR campaign by investment firm State Street Global Advisors. Nonetheless, the statue has been hugely popular, and many fans — including Rep. Carolyn Maloney — have called for “Fearless Girl” to become a permanent installation. (It’s currently scheduled to stay put until April 2.)
The photos provided to Gothamist show two men with their faces covered, wearing Trump’s trademark “Make America Great Again” hats, as they dress “Fearless Girl” with her own “MAGA” hat and an American flag.
The men also have a number of hand-drawn signs with them, including one that says “VETS B4 ILLEGALS” and another that appears to say “REPORT DEPORT,” both of which are presumably in reference to President Trump’s vows to increase the deportation of illegal immigrants, build a border wall with Mexico, and block the entry of visitors from certain Muslim-majority nations. Another sign features a drawing of Pepe the Frog, which has been named as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League; the image has been associated with anti-Semitism, racism, and white nationalism.
Gothamist reports that the Trump paraphernalia and signs have since been removed from the “Fearless Girl” statue. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that people have behaved badly toward "Fearless Girl"; a couple of weeks ago, a photo went viral of a man in a suit humping the child-statue (which… gross, dude). At the time, Alexis Kaloyanides, who photographed the incident, wrote, “Douchebags like this are why we need feminism.”