A London Labour-controlled council removed an “offensive” satirical painting of Mayor Sadiq Khan in swimwear, just weeks before Khan’s Greater London Authority allowed a balloon depicting U.S. President Donald J. Trump as a baby to fly above the city in the name of free speech.
Contractors were called in to remove two murals, one showing the Mayor in a so-called ‘Mankini’ and the other of the Prime Minister in a suggestive pose, from outside Food Bazaar Café in Gray’s Inn Road in Holborn, north London, two weeks ago, West End Extra reports.
The decision by the Labour-controlled London council to remove the caricature of Mayor Khan on grounds of taste has inevitably drawn comparisons and even accusations of hypocrisy to the decision by the Labour-controlled Greater London Authority to permit a 20-foot inflatable caricature of President Donald Trump on grounds of freedom of speech.
Of the murals, Camden Council said the works fell into a “contentious” category, which includes anything perceivably “obscene, racist, political, and religious”.
They have previously depicted the Pope painting the Queen naked, and President Trump with a Nazi swastika on his chest as well as playing in a band called “the psychos” along with Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.
Sadiq Khan’s London Authorises ‘Obscene’ Trump Inflatable to Fly Over Parliament During President’s Visit https://t.co/M73WMFmfZC
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 5, 2018
Café owner Said Effafali said the Sadiq Khan and Theresa May murals were good for his business, with “hundreds of people taking pictures”.
“I explained to them [the council] that if one person complains, then 99 still like it,” he said, arguing the paintings were targeted because they displayed British officials.
“Art is not to everybody’s liking. Of course, you’ll offend people, but a majority likes it.” He added: “We don’t know what’s not offensive anymore.”
A council statement said: “Following the appearance of the two large stencil works on the café wall in April this year, we received six reports of ‘offensive’ graffiti over a six-week period.
“A council officer visited the café owner several times over the following months to discuss the stencil. Using the Keep Britain Tidy scale, the positioning of these has been graded as ‘unsatisfactory’, as they are clearly visible to people passing the location, and at a distance.”