Man spends four hours destroying BBC HQ sculpture by paedophile artist Eric Gill

A man has taken a hammer to a statue on the BBC's Broadcasting House in central London.

The Prospero and Ariel statue was carved by Eric Gill and has been on display at the BBC since 1933.

Campaigners have long asked for it to be removed since it was revealed decades after his death in 1940 that Gill sexually abused his two eldest daughters and kept a record of the horrific abuse in his diaries.

His 1933 statue, which is inspired by Shakespeare's play The Tempest, occupies a prominent position at the entrance to the BBC's Broadcasting House in Portland Place, London and is an integral part of the Grade II listed building.

A man attacks the Prospero and Ariel statue outside Broadcasting House
A cherry picker was used to bring the man down

Photos showed the protester, wearing a Reservoir Dogs t-shirt, hammering away at the statue, removing large parts of stone.

Police were called to the scene at about 16:15 GMT and the man was brought down about four hours later.

BBC staff reported hearing the man shout "paedophile" as he struck the statue at Broadcasting House, which is connected to New Broadcasting House, the BBC's main headquarters.

A spokesman for the Met said the man was brought down with the help of a fire crew.

He was checked over by ambulance workers before being arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and taken into custody, he added.

He said the property owners were examining any damage to the statue and building.

The Prospero and Ariel statue carved by Eric Gill, which adorns the BBC's Broadcasting House
The statue, carved by Eric Gill, has adorned Broadcasting House since 1933

Earlier the force said another man had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage.

A spokeswoman for the BBC declined to comment.

In recent years, groups such as QAnon have campaigned against the statue carved by Gill, who died in 1940.

The partial destruction of the statue comes a week after four people accused of illegally removing a statue of 17th Century slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol were cleared of criminal damage.

The verdict caused national uproar since none of the defendants denied toppling the statue and pushing it into the docks, footage of which has been circulated worldwide. 

The attack on the Colston statue took place during a Black Lives Matter riot in the city in 2020.

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