This seems really, really stupid, but the SFPD is now investigating the August 18 appearance of that Trump statue in the Castro and several other locations around the nation as a case of felony vandalism. And they're holding the artwork hostage while they try to find the individual(s) responsible for installing it. As CBS 5 reports, the issue is that the industrial glue they used to affix it allegedly caused $4,000 in damage to the sidewalk.
As we learned the day of its unexpectedly prompt removal, August 19, Union Square bar Lefty O'Doul's wanted to take custody of the thing, and this was supported by Supervisor Scott Wiener who also became a fan of the piece a move some saw as ironic given the nudity ban he sponsored related to the very plaza next to which the statue stood.
Lefty O'Doul's owner, Nick Bovis, has offered just to pay the four grand so he can take the statue to the bar for a planned event this Friday. For publicity's sake, Bovis was planning to fly in the artist behind the statue, a Las Vegas-based haunted house and theatrical artist who goes by the name Ginger, whom he thinks deserves more credit for the work. They were also only planning on displaying the statue for a couple of days, and then sending it home with Ginger.
Lee Houskeeper, who serves as spokesperson for the bar and several other longtime SF businesses, said in an email to SFist today, "Hopefully [DA] Dennis Herrera will tell us today if pending SFPD charges will be dropped in time for [us] pay the fine and safely bring the artist to San Francisco to receive the controversial political protest art piece he created as a gift from Lefty's at a free to the public event planned for this weekend."
The grotesque, naked depiction of Trump caused some delight for locals and tourists alike, but it also because: San Francisco prompted calls of transphobia and, sort of strangely, transphobia. The latter may be a leap for many, but the Chron's C.W. Nevius is actually sympathetic to this charge, saying, "My theory of what’s offensive is if someone feels offended, it should be considered."
That seems antithetical to the regularity with which Nevius himself offends local progressives and homeless advocates especially, but he goes on to relay that one trans male activist, Shane Brody, took to the streets last week to put his own naked body on display in the spot where the statue stood, proclaiming with a sign, "I love my fat body."
While it's unarguable that the group behind the statue was looking to be controversial, and to poke fun at Trump's presumed naked form, sans balls, I think we should probably look to intent here, and politics, rather than try to make a leap here between an adolescent joke about a baby dick and perceptions about trans bodies though, sure, anyone has a right to feel offense to anything. Gothamist spoke with one of the members of INDECLINE, the group behind the statue effort, who responded thusly to the calls about body shaming. "America wants to see his tax returns. INDECLINE wants to know if he’s got a small dick. Simple as that."
Trump, meanwhile, has refused to utter a peep in response to the statues, which Nevius attributes to the fact "that one thing a bully cannot stand up to is being laughed at."
And that, in itself, might be the greatest power of the statues as a work of guerrilla political art for all the publicity the one-day stunt garnered, the usually defensive and publicity-obsessed Trump went totally silent.
Meanwhile, as Lefty O'Doul's continues to try to give the statue one last exhibition, Trump just landed in the Bay Area Monday evening for a Republican fundraiser at a private home in Woodside, and another happening maybe today, in the Napa Valley.
ABC 7 got a Chopper 7 shot of tents set up outside the home of Saul Fox, the CEO of a private equity firm, and they report that the $25,000-a-head event also featured Rudy Giuliani, who arrived with Trump, and only about 40 wealthy guests.
And here's what his arriving SUV motorcade looked like at 7:05 p.m. last night.