Royal Arts Academy Boss Fired After Condoning Destruction of Bust of School Founder

King Frederick V of Denmark

The director of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts has been fired after signalling her approval when an “anti-colonial” art collective destroyed a bust of the founder of the academy, King Frederick V.

The Danish Ministry of Culture announced that Kirsten Langkilde would be stepping down from her role as director of the fine art academy this week. The move comes after severe criticism of her apparent approval of the destruction of the bust, which in a video of its removal appeared to show the work of art smashing as it tumbled down a harbour wall into the water.

A collective of so-called “anti-colonialist” artists threw the statue of King Frederick V into a canal in November, stating they were doing so in “solidarity with all the artists, students, and people from all over the world who had to live with the consequences of Danish colonialism”, according to Le Figaro.

Days afterwards, a teacher at the academy admitted to having participated in the destruction of the statue and was suspended from her role.

Ms Langkilde, meanwhile, sent out an internal email that included a link to the video, simply saying “good weekend”.

The episode comes after the vandalism or destruction of many statues said to be connected to slavery and colonialism in Europe, Canada, and the United States as part of the Marxist Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

BLM activists tore down a statue of Edward Colston during a protest in Bristol, England, in June. Colston, who made his fortune from the trans-Atlantic slave trade and invested much of his wealth in the city of Bristol itself, had been a target of local activists for years. The statue was thrown into Bristol city’s harbour.

In Belgium, a statue of King Leopold II had to be removed after it was set on fire during a BLM protest. Leopold II was notorious for his personal brutal and bloody rule of the Belgian Congo in the 19th century. As many as ten million died under this rule, largely of starvation.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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