Just Stop Oil protesters smash painting with hammers in London's National Gallery
Just Stop Oil
Esther McVey, the GB News contributor who breached Ofcom impartiality rules with husband Philip Davies over an interview with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt earlier this year, has experienced another “embarrassing” moment this week, when she made a shocking factual error while trying to criticise Just Stop Oil protesters.
In a video of the incident shared by Just Stop Oil on social media, 22-year-old Hanan can be heard saying afterwards: “Women did not get the vote by voting; it is time for deeds and not words. It is time to Just Stop Oil.”
Harrison, 20, added: “Politics is failing us. Politics failed women in 1914.
“Millions will die due to new oil and gas licences – millions. If we love history, if we love art, and if we love our families, we must Just Stop Oil.”
\ud83d\udca5 SUFFRAGETTE PAINTING SMASHED\n\n\ud83d\udc80 Our government have revealed plans for MORE oil licences, knowing it will kill millions. In response, two supporters of Just Stop Oil smashed the Rokeby Venus \u2014 slashed by Mary Richardson in 1914.\n\n\u23f1 Deeds, not words: https://t.co/3tlBID7nKA
In their statement on the situation, the National Gallery said “the room was cleared of visitors and police were called” after the stunt took place just before 11am, with the two individuals arrested over the action.
“The painting is now being removed from display so it can be examined by Conservators,” it reads.
At just before 11am this morning (6 November 2023) two people entered Room 30 of the National Gallery.\n\nThe pair appeared to strike The Toilet of Venus (\u2018The Rokeby Venus\u2019) by Vel\u00e1zquez with what appeared to be emergency rescue hammers. The room was cleared of visitors and police\u2026
The painting itself has some history in being caught up in protest actions, as The Toilet of Venus (The Rokeby Venus) by Spanish artist Diego Velázquez was targeted by suffragette Mary Richardson in 1914, who slashed the painting with a meat cleaver following the arrest of Emmeline Pankhurst.
Except, rather than point out the suffragette’s previous damage to the 17th century artwork, McVey took to X (formerly Twitter) to claim the painting itself depicted the political activists who called for women to be given the right to vote.
“Vandalism plain and simple. How dare these criminals storm our National Gallery and use hammers to smash a painting depicting the suffragette movement pretending to be raising concerns about the environment.
“Call them out for what they are – vandals and hooligans,” she fumed.
Vandalism plain & simple. \nHow dare these criminals storm our National Gallery & use hammers to smash a painting depicting the Suffragette movement pretending to be raising concerns about the environment - call them out for what they are - vandals & hooligans.
It doesn’t, just to be clear. The National Gallery itself describes the painting as showing a nude Venus, the Roman goddess of love, being “attended by “The Three Graces”.
And other X users haven’t hesitated in ridiculing the Conservative MP for the mishap:
@EstherMcVey1 You think this is a painting depicting the Suffragette movement? ha ha ha ha
@EstherMcVey1 I'm so pleased they didn't damage this one of Churchill in the Cabinet War Rooms
@EstherMcVey1 \u201cHello? Is that you Aeneas? It\u2019s me, Mum. Listen, you\u2019ll have to get your own tea tonight I\u2019m busy doing some suffragetting\u201d
Increasingly difficult to tell the difference between parody Tory MP accounts and the real ones.
Hi Esther:\n\n@JustStop_Oil smashed the glass of a 17th century painting which was previously slashed by the suffragettes in 1914.\n\nThey were following in the footsteps of protesters who were demonised at the time, but vindicated by history.\n\nI hope that helps!
very ahead of its time to be depicting the suffragette movement considering it was painted in the 17th Century
Two masterpieces on display here, only one of them intentional.\n\nRokeby Venus: completed 1651\nSuffragette movement: formed 1903
Depicting the \u2018what\u2019 now?! \ud83d\ude2c
Incredible how the artist captured Emmeline Pankhurst in such an unguarded moment.