Protesters Deface Degas Sculpture at the National Gallery...Without Interference From Security?

Richard Drew

Climate protesters walked into the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., on Thursday and defaced the display case of a priceless Degas sculpture without security trying to stop them. I have a very hard time believing this wasn’t planned with the permission of the gallery. Everything about this video reported by the Washington Post is weird.


For one, the statue is behind glass, so no real damage was done as the glass can be replaced and the base can be repainted. There are other sculptures in that same room that are not behind glass that could have sustained far more damage.

But the real head-scratcher here is: where was security? I just toured this museum a couple of weeks ago over spring break. My sister and I took our children into this very room in the West Building. The National Gallery security is everywhere. Not only that, but they are watching everyone and intervening constantly. My 8-year-old son was told a few times not to get too close to exhibits. I brought a small backpack as a purse so I wouldn’t have to have weight on one shoulder that would aggravate my neck pain issues but was told I was only allowed to carry it on one shoulder, not two. Thinking this must be so you don’t back up into something priceless with a backpack, I put it in front of me like a baby carrier so I could still distribute the weight evenly. I was told to take it off and place it on one shoulder again.


The security in this place is downright militant. So there is no chance, and I mean no chance, that these protesters couldn’t have been stopped at the very first sign that they were going to touch that glass unless security was told not to intervene. If you watch the full video, security doesn’t show up until they are finished defacing it. Then all the security seems to care about are the people filming the police taking the protesters away. It’s one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen.

The other unbelievable part about this is how they got the paint inside the museum. My sister was pulled into a bag check when we entered. Did they miss the paint? PJ Media has sent an inquiry to the National Gallery with questions about all these things. If they respond, we will update the article.

These days I question everything, especially when I see climate protesters being treated in a way that no one else would be treated in similar circumstances. Why was my son—who was just leaning toward a painting to get a better look at it—a greater threat to the art than vandals smearing paint on the Degas ballerina display? It doesn’t add up. The question is, how does the National Gallery benefit from allowing vandals to deface a priceless exhibit? I can’t answer that and maybe they didn’t know about it, but it sure looks suspect to me.


The group “Declare Emergency” took credit for the vandalism. PJ Media reached out to them, too, and asked them directly if they had permission to be there and do this. They said, “No, we did not.” Do you believe them?



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