BBC HQ scaffolding climber hammers statue

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BBC Broadcasting House Portland Place [Oxygman]

In a dramatic turn of events, a man has scaled the scaffold at the forefront of the BBC’s London headquarters and wielded a hammer to strike a contentious statue, ostensibly as a form of protest.

Amidst allegations of sexual abuse recorded in his diaries, there are growing demands for the removal of Eric Gill’s Prospero and Ariel statue.

Broadcasting House has been targeted for the second time with regards to the 1930s work.

Last year, an individual protesting took a hammer to it, and the damage caused by the incident is still undergoing repairs.

At 04:15 BST on Saturday, the Metropolitan Police received a report regarding a man who had ascended scaffolding and was causing damage to a sculpture.

According to a spokesperson, the man in question has not been able to be apprehended safely due to the circumstances surrounding the incident, which includes the height factor.

Specialized officers have been summoned to the location.

A police cordon has been established, causing disruption to the upper section of Regent Street and the vicinity of New Broadcasting House.

Throughout the day, an individual was observed donning a Spiderman mask while intermittently striking a statue with a hammer and chisel.

At certain junctures, he was also observed vociferating at the officers stationed on the ground.

As of the late afternoon of Saturday, he was still present on the scaffold.

Renowned artist Gill, who was born in 1882, left a lasting impact on the art world with his impressive body of work. Among his notable contributions were several grand sculptures created for prominent London buildings, such as Westminster Cathedral and the original headquarters of the London Underground.

In addition to his notable contributions to the field of typography, he is credited as the designer of Gill Sans, a highly prevalent British typeface.

Although Gill passed away in 1940, a biography was published in 1989 that shed light on his personal life. The book revealed that Gill had documented instances of sexual abuse perpetrated against his two eldest daughters in his personal diary.

Additionally, the biography disclosed that Gill had engaged in an incestuous relationship with his own sister and had also committed sexual acts on his pet dog.

The statue situated outside Broadcasting House, which was erected in 1933, showcases the figures of Prospero and Ariel from the renowned play by William Shakespeare, The Tempest. Ariel, a mythical being associated with the element of air, is commonly portrayed as a youthful, unclothed male figure.

Ongoing repairs are being carried out following the incident that occurred last year. In addition, plans are underway to install a QR code in the vicinity to offer valuable insights into the statue’s history and significance.

Katie Razzall stated that the Culture Editor at BBC, Gill was a highly accomplished and celebrated sculptor and artist. His career has sparked a debate on whether an individual’s personal life should be taken into account when evaluating their artistic work, or if the art should be assessed solely on its own merit.

Previous reports by the BBC said the repair work was slated to conclude on the 19th of June.

According to the corporation, the most recent occurrence has been deemed a matter for the police and emergency services.

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