Vandals destroyed the President Theodore Roosevelt statue on Thursday, which is located in front of New York’s American Museum of Natural History, by throwing red paint all over it.
Police report that it likely occurred somewhere before 3 a.m. and 7 a.m., so they are going through surveillance footage from those times to look for clues as to who may have done it.
— Gothamist (@Gothamist) October 26, 2017
The statue by sculptor James Earle Fraser was erected in 1939 and depicts the president mounted on a horse and surrounded by an African and a native American.
New York resident Hans Gesell, 82, lamented the destruction. “There is no cause for doing things like this in this society where everybody is free to express their opinion, but not in this way,” he said.
A group calling itself the Monument Removal Brigade took credit for the attack. In a rambling statement released Thursday, the group said the “real damage” was not to the statue, but “lies with patriarchy, white supremacy, and settler-colonialism embodied by the statue.”
Earlier this month, there were protests that targeted the statue and demanded for it to be removed because it “advocates white supremacy.”
The Decolonize This Place group said, “Flanked by figures that appear to be Native and African stereotypes in a position of subservience, the statue is a stark embodiment of the white patrician supremacy that Roosevelt himself espoused and promoted and is an affront to all who enter the museum. Statuary is not forever and a monument that glorifies racial and gender hierarchies should be retired from public view.”
As president, Teddy Roosevelt essentially created government-sponsored environmentalism with his support of the National Monuments Act (1906). Additionally, with his 1901 dinner with black activist Booker T. Washington, Roosevelt became the first president in U.S. history to invite a black man to the White House for dinner.