The city says that the order has nothing to do with the content of the mural, but rather falls under a broad anti-graffiti statute. Heslin disagrees, pointing out that the Crying Room Studio has displayed murals in the same spot for ten years without ever drawing the city's attention, including some that were much more graffiti-like than this one. But the message of the offending mural clearly is anti-Olympic, with the artist describing it as a statement against the city's heavy-handed tactics in removing the homeless from certain parks and the lack of affordable tickets to the games.
As is often the case with things like this, officials would have been much better off ignoring the perceived offense, rather than giving it free publicity. Now who knows how many people will be inspired to take to the streets to protest not only the games, but the city's refusal to allow what many consider free speech.
[Photo: The Blackbird]