Remember the Fearless Girl controversy? Well there is a new ironic twist to this story. Turns out that the company behind what some deemed as a publicity stunt is paying $5M in back pay to female executives who reportedly were paid less than their male colleagues. Huh.
Some background…in the Spring of 2016 a new sculpture of a young called girl standing (arms akimbo) was installed across from Wall Street’s Charging Bull. Many people loved it, as it ostensibly depicted female bravery in a male-dominated society, but the artist behind the Bull statue dismissed as an “advertising trick,” which led to lots of predictable Facebook posts and Twitter mentions.
As Mediaite reported at the time, the sculpture was put in place by State Street Global Advisors, an asset management firm. The goal, according to a statement from Ron O’Hanley, the company’s President and CEO, is to call on “The more than 3,500 companies that SSGA invests on behalf of clients, representing more than $30 trillion in market capitalization to take intentional steps to increase the number of women on their corporate boards.”
Turns out that State Street Global Advisors has been accused by the US Department of Labor of paying hundreds of female executives less than male colleagues. That’s not good.
Italian-born sculptor Arturo Di Modica argued the girl is not a work of art, but rather an “advertising trick” since it was sponsored by investment firm State Street Global Advisers, and erected by advertising firm McCann. Di Modica, who reportedly lives a modest life now in Southern Italy, was publicly derided for what some deemed as insensitive statements.
Or as a mutual friend said in a post on Facebook “Hey, remember when everybody was calling Charging Bull artist Arturo DiModica a misogynist for being upset that State Street’s statue/ad was hurting his art? And I agreed with Arturo, and argued that the Fearless Girl statue was just a shitty pink-washing marketing stunt by a shitty, sexist financial firm?”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.