Activists Deface King Charles' Portrait

Animal Rising defends act as 'light-hearted' way to draw attention to animal cruelty
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2024 10:49 AM CDT
King Charles' Portrait Looks a Little Different Now
Artist Jonathan Yeo and Britain's King Charles III at the unveiling of artist Jonathan Yeo's portrait of the King, in the blue drawing room at Buckingham Palace, in London, on May 14, 2024.   (Aaron Chown/Pool Photo via AP, File)

That didn't take long. A month after King Charles III's first official portrait as monarch was unveiled, activists vandalized it with an image of the iconic British stop-motion animation character Wallace of Wallace and Gromit fame. The animal activist group Animal Rising shared footage Tuesday of an individual using a paint roller to apply an image of Wallace's face on top of Charles' own, prompting "gasps of shock from onlookers," per NBC News. A second person applied a speech bubble to the portrait on display at London's Philip Mould & Co. gallery. "No cheese Gromit, look at all of this cruelty on RSCPA farms," it read, per CNN.

Animal Rising said the "light-hearted" act was meant to draw attention to a new report by the group that seeks to hold to higher welfare standards farms inspected by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Animal Rising argues the scheme covers up "cruelty on an industrial scale." King Charles is a patron of the RSPCA, a British charity. "With King Charles being such a big fan of Wallace and Gromit, we couldn't think of a better way to draw his attention to the horrific scenes on RSPCA Assured farms," one of the activists involved said in a statement, per NBC.

The RSPCA said it was "shocked by this vandalism," which served to distract from its mission to help animals. "We remain confident that our RSPCA Assured scheme is the best way to help farmed animals right now," a rep added, per the BBC. Days earlier, in response to the Animal Rising report, a rep said "any concerns about welfare on RSPCA Assured farms are taken extremely seriously and RSPCA Assured will act swiftly to look into these allegations." The gallery said there was no damage to the portrait. The BBC notes the signs were affixed to glass protecting the actual painting. Animal Rising said there was no glue involved, only water. (More King Charles III stories.)

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