The Italian-born creator of Wall Street's Charging Bull has demanded the removal of Fearless Girl statue, saying it violates his artistic copyrights.
Arturo Di Modica referred to a 1990 copyright statute that grants visual artists the right "to prevent any intentional distortion, mutilation or other modification of that work which would be prejudicial to [the artist's] reputation".
The artist said his sculpture, which was installed in 1989, symbolises "freedom, world peace, strength, power and love". But, because of the Fearless Girl statue placed in front of the Bull, his artwork's meaning and context have changed.
"The Charging Bull no longer carries a positive, optimistic message. Rather, it has been transformed into a negative force and a threat," he added.
The 7,100-pound (3,200 kg) bronze Bull – symbol of aggressive financial optimism and prosperity – was installed unofficially after a financial collapse. Later, it was moved to the Financial District, steps away from Wall Street. Eventually, the Charging Bull's popularity led to it becoming a permanent feature.
New York city's Mayor Bill de Blasio recently extended the girl's statue permit, amid rising public clamour for it to be made permanent. He called it a symbol of "standing up to fear, standing up to power" and doing what's right.
"Clearly, a deliberate choice was made to exploit and to appropriate the 'Charging Bull' through the placement of the 'Fearless Girl'," Di Modica's attorney Norman Siegel said, while voicing their opinion against New York City's mayor decision to allow the Fearless Girl statue to remain in place opposite of the Bull for at least one more year – from April 2017 to February 2018.
Lawyer Siegel demanded the removal of the Fearless Girl, saying due process was not followed by city officials while granting permission to install the statue, the BBC reported.
Di Modica is also seeking unspecified damages from the city of New York, the Guardian said.
The Italian artist has also argued that Fearless Girl statue is not a legitimate work of art, but rather an "advertising trick" as it was sponsored by investment firm State Street Global Advisers, and installed by advertising firm McCann.
"Everybody loves the bull. The girl is like - 'I am here, what are you gonna do?" Di Modica told reporters at a press conference.
However, Mayor de Blasio stood in support of the Girl and tweeted, "Men who don't like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl".