Why I Capped the Fearless Girl Statue
In the spring of 2017, I was in the news for putting a “Make America Great Again” cap on the “Fearless Girl” statue, placed to supposedly face down the iconic “Charging Bull” statue. The ensuing calamity from this led to verbal spats at an Interregnum event, and even an honor council for a friend and myself. The one question no one seemed to ask is why I did it; I am now willing to go on record and explain in detail why I decided to cap her.
My initial idea when going into the whole prank was to reach out to other online right-wingers and utilize the 24-hour camera pointing at the statue. The first day I went out with the hat and a sign that read “Pepe,” and I posted it on Facebook, 4chan, and Twitter. I initially thought it would be funny and would let my friends have a laugh, but instead it became an internet sensation.
Several famous right-wing YouTubers like Gavin McInnes and Sargon of Akkad made videos about it. We decided to go out and do the prank more often and we received more and more internet attention. It had actually gotten to a point where people were ordering us hot chocolate, chicken tenders, and pizza. There were Instagram models stopping to get pictures with us. We even had a couple anonymous online users come out and join us. It turned into a fun little prank that Trump supporters enjoyed internationally.
Unfortunately, the media took it upon themselves to snap photos of us without asking, requested no interview, and followed with a write up assuming what we were doing there. The now-defunct Gothamist, in their report of our prank, claimed that Pepe the Frog was a “white nationalist hate-symbol.” They predicated their argument on a pre-election smear on Trump supporters by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). But if they had read the ADL’s description of the meme, they would know the ADL wrote that “the majority of uses of Pepe the Frog have been, and continue to be, non-bigoted.”
Pepe is just a meme frog that was heavily used in the days leading up to the election. I am not a white nationalist, nor am I any sort of racial supremacist. It is sad that Gothamist felt the need to do that write-up with no intent of approaching me or asking why I was there.
Due to this mischaracterization of myself—and our protest—some students at The King’s College were enraged and demanded some type of action publicly on social media. Due to this outrage, I was sent to a school honor council on dubious pretenses of breaking city laws. Considering the local ordinances against covering your face with unusual attire and altering statues, there was no case for me doing either—the honor council was resolved with no punishment.
Although the honor council led to no punishment, it is a lesson to everyone about how naive the media, college students and people practicing political correctness have become. When confronted with something an individual disagrees with, it is not his duty to let everyone else know how much he disagrees by freaking out. The best option is a conversation. If you know who was involved, ask them why, and try to understand them.
My fun prank was just that, a fun prank. Though political in nature, it was neither inappropriate nor was its purpose to traumatize anyone. Hopefully, we can all sit back and laugh a bit the next time we reflect on the time Joe Enders capped the “Fearless Girl” statue without “literally shaking” with rage.
The opinions reflected in this OpEd are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of staff, faculty and students of The King's College