Iconic WWII statue of sailor kissing nurse non-consensually vandalised.
Washington: A vandal painted ‘#MeToo’ on the leg of the nurse in the ‘Unconditional Surrender’ statue in Florida and the police are on the lookout for the culprit. The statue is modelled after an iconic photo taken in Times Square right after the end of World War II (WWII) in 1945 and shows a woman dresses in a white uniform being embraced and kissed by a sailor to celebrate the end of the war, reported CNN.
The woman, identified as Greta Friedman, was 21 at the time, didn't know the sailor, who has been identified as George Mendonsa. He passed away on Sunday at the age of 95.
Looking back at the moment, Friedman had described the kiss as not being consensual. CNN cited an interview that Friedman gave Veterans History project in 2005, where she said she was suddenly grabbed by a sailor. "It wasn't that much of a kiss. It was more of a jubilant act that he didn't have to go back," she dad said.
"He was just holding me tight. I'm not sure about the kiss... It was just somebody celebrating. It wasn't a romantic event. It was just ... 'Thank God, the war is over,'" Friedman had said.
Mendonsa too said something similar to CNN in 2015. The war veteran recalled, “So we get into Times Square and the war ends and I see the nurse," adding, "I had a few drinks and it was just plain instinct, I guess. I just grabbed her."
On Tuesday morning, police discovered that someone had used red spray paint and wrote the words "#MeToo" on the statue in Sarasota, Florida. Police believe the vandalism occurred sometime on Monday afternoon or evening, just a day after Mendonsa passed away.
Officers have not been able to locate any evidence in the area or surveillance video capturing the incident. According to a police statement, the approximate damage is estimated to be more than USD 1,000. The graffiti has since been removed from the statue.