The “Fearless Girl” Statue in New York’s financial district — which proclaimed “I am here” — is now nearly be it after a judge blocked its immediate removal Friday.
The statue’s creators, gender equality advocates group No More Mr. Nice Guy, were originally awarded a one-year permit to display the symbol of female empowerment in front of the New York Stock Exchange.
But a group of NYSE shareholders, led by Steven Cohen, who is President Donald Trump’s biggest shareholder, sent a letter demanding that the statue be removed.
Cohen had been arguing that the steel-framed statue had made it difficult for him to conduct trade in recent weeks, according to the New York Post.
The activists behind the statue, however, point out that they created the “Fearless Girl” in opposition to the policies of Trump, not to hurt the NYSE itself.
“We chose ‘Fearless Girl’ to highlight this administration’s all-out assault on women’s health, their suppression of reproductive rights, and their ongoing violation of worker rights,” Dina Rasor, founder of No More Mr. Nice Guy and “Fearless Girl” creator, told Washingtonian.
The Post reported on Oct. 7 that the statue had been installed on the Wall Street sidewalk between two older statues of cherubs supporting the Big Apple’s symbols of capitalism, the bronze billy goat “Charging Bull” and the bronze bull that roamed Wall Street.
In a letter last month, an attorney for the unnamed shareholders argued that the placard used by Ms. Rasor and No More Mr. Nice Guy has an anti-capitalist message that must be removed. They argued that the statue was a trespass on their property, which the lawsuit also states that they paid $185,000 to own.
The shareholders are also suing the city for allowing the “Fearless Girl” to be placed on the “public right of way,” which has oversight over the streets, streetscape and sidewalks.
The letter, which was signed by attorneys Peter Newman and Wendy Federman, argues that the statue was to be taken down if the judge ruled in their favor.
In New York City, such statues are not allowed to leave the approved location, unless it is to be moved to another location.
The letter states: “Instead of responding to that will of the NYSE shareholders, Mayor [Bill] de Blasio and New York City Councilmembers who had reviewed the space, they sought to have ‘Fearless Girl’ moved to another location, paid for by the shareholders, with potentially millions of dollars in city tax dollars.”
The lawsuit has claimed that public money was used to fund “the placement of the Fearless Girl on the Wall Street sidewalk,” but an NYPD spokesman has denied the claim.
The sign used by Rasor and No More Mr. Nice Guy was posted on the sidewalk in September at the request of the executive committee of the world’s largest financial market. It was taken down Nov. 9, according to an NYPD spokesman.
Cohen, who owns a private investment firm, SAC Capital Advisors, is now one of Trump’s largest personal stockholders, and the CIA and Internal Revenue Service said they were investigating whether Cohen broke the law.
Cohen has previously denied accusations from the Office of Special Counsel, which is currently investigating how SAC Capital may have benefited from illegal payments made during the 2016 presidential election campaign.