A man caught on camera painting over Sydney’s George Michael mural has reportedly been slapped with a graffiti charge.
The artwork, depicted the singer and gay icon as “Saint George Michael,” was painted by artist Scott Marsh on a building in Sydney’s inner-west in the weeks after Michael’s death on Christmas Day last year.
Video footage published by the ABC shows the man painting over the artwork with black paint. In the video he can be heard saying that he’s “defending my religion” by defacing the “sacrilegious” work.
New South Wales police confirmed to the ABC that a 23-year-old man had been issued with a court attendance notice over a charge of graffiti. He’s due to face the Downing Centre Local Court on December 7.
The Saint George Michael mural has been targeted a number of times since same-sex marriage postal survey’s “yes” result was announced on Wednesday.
But in response to the vandalism, locals covered the black paint with pro-equality messages such as “Too Late, Love Won” and “Love Conquers All”.
Artist Scott Marsh slammed the vandalism as an attack by “religious fanatics” on freedom of speech and freedom of expression and promised the mural would return.
“‘Saint George’ was painted almost a year ago as a tribute to the property owner’s lost mate George Michael,” he said.
“It’s on the main train lines heading south through Sydney and thousands of people see it each day on their daily commutes.
“Why now is it being attacked under the guise of religion?
“I feel terrible and I’m so sorry to all the locals who have had to endure the intimidation and bullshit during the past night’s attacks.
“The mural’s now beyond repair, time to let the dust settle. But I can promise you George will be back bigger and better… and with a graffiti proof coating.”