UK: Monkey Statue to be Given Explanatory Label to Prevent Offending People Following BLM Protests

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A famous statue of a monkey in the English town of Hartlepool will be given an explanatory label to prevent offending people, following the BLM protests.

The monkey statue sits at the entrance to Hartlepool Marina, and commemorates a local legend, whereby a monkey washed ashore in the north east town as the only survivor from a shipwreck during the Napoleonic Wars. The townspeople, having never seen a monkey before, then hanged the animal, thinking that it must have been a French spy. The apocryphal tale is much loved by the town, with the local football mascot even being “H’angus the Monkey.”

However, council officers have now said that a sign will be placed on the monkey, after a June 2020 report sparked off by the push from BLM protestors to take down statues linked to “colonialism” and “slavery,” said that the statue could be “misused by those with differing agendas to portray Hartlepool as unfriendly towards foreigners.” In a statement, the council said that it was “working on an interpretation of the Hartlepool monkey legend with the intention of installing an explanatory sign on the monkey statue at the Hartlepool Marina lock gates for the benefit of visitors.”

The council admitted that they had not received a single complaint about the statue, and that it actually raises around £2,000 a year for charity, as visitors deposit coins into a pocket in the front of it for good luck. “In putting up an explanatory sign, we intend to liaise closely with the marina’s current owners, Hartlepool Marina Ltd,” the statement concluded. (READ MORE: UK: Winston Churchill Statue Vandalised by Rioters, Police Remove Statue Defenders)

The announcement from the council regarding the monkey statue was widely mocked online, with many highlighting that it was surely more racist to link the BLM movement and monkeys. “How incredibly racist of the Hartlepool council to automatically link ethnic minorities with monkeys,” one commenter said. “They are doing exactly what they claim to be against.”

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Emma Webb, the co-founder of the Save our Statues organization, who campaign to preserve historical statues from being removed by left-wing activists and councils in Britain, told Talk Radio that this is probably the “absolute maddest” story that has arisen over the last year about statues. “They’re concerned that it might make people think Hartlepool is xenophobic. Xenophobic to who? Is it the French?”

“It almost seems as if that having found very little in Hartlepool connected to colonialism and slavery, possibly even nothing, they’ve had to find something that they can say is problematic,” said Webb, “And they’ve found in this something that they can suggest someone might perceive it as being offensive in some way, but actually arguably the fact that they think this can be perceived as offensive, is actually quite offensive!” (READ MORE: VIDEO: UK #BLM Protester Calls for Removal of Statue of Person They Don’t Know)

After the story initially broke, Shane Moore, the leader of the Hartlepool Council, slammed his own council’s statement on the issue in a Facebook post. “On a day when we should be celebrating Hartlepool being awarded the full £25 million in Towns Deal money we are instead talking about how a statue of a monkey needs a sign to prove it isn’t racist,” Moore wrote. He added that he would be reminding council officers that councillors last year decided no action would need to be taken on statues. “I’m all for us explaining our history, culture and folklore to people but ultimately not everything has to come down to race.”