'Love won': vandalised George Michael mural in Sydney gets a makeover

Man charged with defacing artwork in Erskineville as community rallies to add its own positive messages

A mural depicting the late singer George Michael as a saint has been defaced in Sydney by a man claiming to be defending his religion.

The 23-year-old man, who was arrested by New South Wales police and charged with graffiti offences, was captured on film covering the mural with black paint.

“I’m defending my religion, that’s exactly what I’m doing,” he said.

The artwork by Scott Marsh, titled St George, depicts the Wham! singer and gay rights activist in the style of a Christian saint and was created after his death in December last year.

‘TOO LATE LOVE WON’. The vandalised George Michael mural in Newtown. Via a FB friend. 💕🏳️‍🌈💪💪🏻💪🏼💪🏽💪🏾💪🏿 pic.twitter.com/1S6HNgQeaE

— Paul Kidd (@paulkidd) November 18, 2017

On Saturday, days after Australia’s historic yes vote in the national marriage law postal survey, police arrested the man on Bray Street in Erskineville as he began painting over the mural, despite the protests of residents.

Respectful debate pic.twitter.com/uq5LXqyTpa

— Edmund Iffland (@edmundiffland) November 18, 2017

By Sunday, residents had written pro-marriage equality messages on the defaced mural.

“Too late, love won,” said one.

“No to hatred and intolerance,” said another.

Saturday’s alleged vandalism comes after the same mural was defaced on Friday by a different man, wearing a shirt from stone masonry company Azztek Stone.

Azztek Stone later released a statement that it had stood him down and offered to pay for the artwork to be returned to its original condition. “We strongly and vigorously condemn the action taken by one of our employees,” it said. “We apologise for any offence or harm the irresponsible actions of our employee might have caused.”

Another mural painted by Marsh, which depicted former prime minister Tony Abbott with his hand down the pants of Catholic cardinal George Pell, was defaced and painted over on Thursday after being finished the previous day.

Didn't even last a day #marriageequality #lovewins #newtown

A post shared by Nicholas McCallum (@nkmccallum) on

Many supporters of the George Michael mural pointed out it was not as offensive or sexually explicit, and had been in place since January and before the same-sex marriage postal survey.

Now people are attacking the George Michael mural in Newtown, an entirely respectful and beautiful work of art

Man, homophobes are SO MAD about the marriage survey result (and need to find new hobbies) https://t.co/x38XyRJreU

— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) November 18, 2017

The 23-year-old man was issued a court attendance notice and will attend Downing centre local court on 7 December.


Naaman Zhou

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Anglican rector criticises $1m donation to no campaign from Sydney diocese
Andrew Sempell likens donation announced by Archbishop Davies to era when church ‘sought to control political processes’

Michael Slezak and Paul Karp

10, Oct, 2017 @7:54 AM

Article image
University of Sydney says it is powerless to stop violent hazing of students
Report details decades of hazing and sexual harassment within university’s residential colleges

Naaman Zhou

27, Feb, 2018 @2:47 AM

Article image
Sydney Catholic schools to remove name of Marist brother accused of sexual abuse
Exclusive: Brother Geoffrey ‘Coman’ Sykes’ name will be removed from a school building and scholarship program after campaigners say ‘he is not a role model’

Christopher Knaus

17, Sep, 2020 @5:57 AM

Article image
Sydney private school equates same-sex relationships and trans identity with abuse
Penrith Christian School principal stands by ‘statement of faith’, saying it has been taken out of context

Mostafa Rachwani

07, Feb, 2022 @6:25 AM

Article image
‘We have missed it terribly’: joy and excitement as Sydney places of worship reopen after Covid lockdown
The sense of relief is shared across the faiths, with Friday prayers at mosques among the first services restarting face-to-face

Mostafa Rachwani

14, Oct, 2021 @4:30 PM

Article image
Sydney Opera House gets $202m renovation in first big facelift since 1973
Concert hall will have to close for almost two years but Sydney Symphony Orchestra conductor says it will be ‘as amazing inside as it is from the outside’

Elle Hunt

11, Aug, 2016 @2:47 AM

Article image
Thor 4: Love and Thunder to be shot in Sydney, Chris Hemsworth reveals
Taika Waititi’s follow-up featuring Natalie Portman as ‘female Thor’ to create 2,500 local jobs, with production to start in March 2020

Naaman Zhou

26, Jul, 2019 @5:05 AM

Article image
Erased from history: how Sydney destroyed its trams for love of the car
As the city prepares to open a new line built at vast expense, the decision to get rid of trams in the 1950s looks more questionable than ever

Mike Ticher

27, Jul, 2019 @10:00 PM

Article image
Sydney Lebanese restaurant vandalised after anonymous racist phone calls
The front windows of Arabella restaurant in Newtown were smashed on Monday, three days after obscenities were etched into the glass

Michael Safi

22, Sep, 2015 @9:09 AM

Article image
NSW Labor leader Michael Daley says he will ‘not be bullied’ by NRL over Sydney stadiums
Daley says NRL boss is threatening to move the grand final out of Sydney if new Moore Park arena not built

Michael McGowan

03, Dec, 2018 @1:25 AM