‘Kissing sailor’ statue graffitied with #MeToo after death of George Mendonsa
July 11, 2020
A statue showing a sailor passionately kissing a nurse at the end of Second World War was vandalised with the #MeToo hashtag one day after the serviceman’s death.
The statue is based on the well known picture, V-J Day in Times Square, taken on August 14, 1945 in New York by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt.
Unconditional Surrender in Sarasota, Florida, became a new platform for the #MeToo protest movement against on Monday, when authorities found the nurse’s leg had been sprayed with #MeToo in bright red paint.
For many, the image of George Mendonsa kissing Greta Zimmer Friedman captures the joy felt across the US on the day Japan surrendered. But the picture has recently come under scrutiny, with the kiss seen as an act of sexual assault.
In 2005, during an interview for the Veteran’s History Project, Ms Friedman said that the kiss was non-consensual and that Mr Mendonsa "grabbed" her.
At approximately 12:53 am, our Officers were dispatched to the intersection of N Gulfstream Ave & Bayfront Dr reference to an unknown individual spray painting ‘# MeToo’ on the Unconditional Surrender statue. Additional information is at https://t.co/gv10lGhcja pic.twitter.com/JakU8aI7QY
— SarasotaPD (@SarasotaPD) February 19, 2019
Nevertheless, she said that she understood the kiss to be a "jubilant act" adding, "it was just an event of ‘thank god the war is over".
After Ms Zimmer’s death in 2016, her son told The New York Times that his mother did not view the kiss negatively.
Mr Mendonsa died on Sunday, two days before his 96th birthday.
The #MeToo movement began a debate about consent and violence against women following the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
Sarasota police shared the images of the vandalised statue, with some social media users expressing indignation at the graffiti, and others applauding the protest.