A man has been arrested for painting over Sydney’s LGBTQ+ community shrine to late pop legend George Michael.
The street mural dubbed ‘Saint George’ — which was painted by ‘Kissing Kanye’ artist Scott Marsh in the city’s inner-west earlier this year in tribute to the gay icon’s incredible cultural legacy — was defaced with homophobic slurs and pelted with eggs during the heated marriage equality postal vote period.
It was then vandalised again over the weekend, with a man caught on camera painting over the artwork — which depicts Michael as a religious saint, complete with a rainbow halo and robes while holding a lit joint and a bottle of amyl nitrate — while telling onlookers “I’m defending my religion”.
Now, as the ABC reports, police have issued a 23-year-old man with a court attendance notice over a charge of graffiti in relation to the defacement, and residents have already given his alleged handiwork their own marriage equality makeover:
The man is expected to face the Downing Centre Local Court on December 7th.
Meanwhile, Scott Marsh — who was recently in the spotlight for painting a ‘Happy Ending’ marriage equality mural of former PM Tony Abbott and Cardinal George Pell (which also got vandalised less than 24 hours after it went up) — has promised that Saint George will “be back bigger and better than [ever] (and with a graffiti proof coating)”.
We have Faith in you, Scottie.
‘Saint George’ was painted almost a year ago as a tribute to the property owners lost mate George Michael. It is on the main train lines heading south through Sydney and thousands of people see it each day on their daily commutes. It has a become a shrine visited by George Michael fans from around Australia and the world, leaving flowers cards and candles at the foot of the wall when they come to mourn and remember George. It made international headlines when it was painted and was a feature in its own float in this years @sydneymardigras , televised across Australia and the world. So why now is it being attacked under the guise of religion?? 🤔 I feel terrible and I’m so sorry to all the locals who have had to endure the intimidation and bullshit during the past nights attacks 😔 It is completely surreal to see images and hear stories of groups of men, religious fanatics, travelling into these communities to intimidate locals & forcefully remove their public artwork. Its sad really sad… so much for free speach and freedom of expression in Australia… Thanks so much for the dozens of messages of support i have received! Ill write back to them all today. 🙏🏻 ✌🏼😊 The murals now beyond repair, time to let the dust settle. But i can promise you George will be back bigger and better than (and with a graffiti proof coating 👍🏻) 🌈 #georgemichael #innerwest #freedomofspeech #saintgeorge #publicart #censorship #patronsaintofthegays