The “Forever Marilyn” statue, which depicts the late actress Marilyn Monroe in one of her most famous on-screen moments, is scheduled to return to Palm Springs, California, on Sunday – but not everyone is happy about it.
Protesters including those from the Women’s March LA Foundation are expected to show up to Sunday’s planned unveiling of the 26-foot-tall statue to express their displeasure, according to a report.
The group claims the statue – which shows Monroe with her dress blowing up in a scene from the 1955 film, “The Seven Year Itch,” is sexist and promotes misogyny, the Desert Sun newspaper of Palm Springs reported.
The statue is “designed for viewers to walk in between the legs, look up her dress and snap a picture of her crotch or buttocks for fun,” Women’s March Inland Empire Executive Director Jenn Carson said in a statement, according to the newspaper.
“It is sexist, exploitive and misogynistic,” Carson’s statement continued. “Even in death, Marilyn has no peace. We are demanding the statue be moved. #metoomarilyn has no place in Palm Springs.”
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Trina Turk, co-leader of a group called the Committee to Relocate Marilyn, claimed the plans to install the statue on Museum Way in Palm Springs went ahead despite community opposition, the Desert Sun reported.
Turk said different groups of opponents of the statue plan to show up Sunday to “voice our dissent to the statue being installed on Museum Way.”
“Since they went ahead and did it despite community opposition, we decided we wanted to bring in opponents, regardless of why they were opposed to the statue,” Turk said, according to the newspaper.
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The statue has been displayed in numerous locations since its creation in 2011 by New Jersey-born artist Seward Johnson, who died in 2020 at age 89. It even had a previous run in Palm Springs, from 2012 to 2014, the report said.
Supporters say the statue will help drive tourism to the city following California’s long coronavirus shutdown.
Aftab Dada, chairman of PS Resorts, a hotels association organization, bought the statue and made plans to return it to Palm Springs as a tourist attraction.
Dada claimed the previous Palm Springs run generated “millions and millions of dollars in publicity” for the city and “immensely helped all the businesses in downtown Palm Springs,” the Desert Sun reported.
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He said he was aware of the planned protest but hoped it would remain “peaceful.” He noted that a court ruling earlier this month denied an effort by the Committee to Relocate Marilyn to block Sunday’s planned unveiling. Another hearing is scheduled for July 20, according to the newspaper.
“Knowing that a court made a favorable decision for the city of Palm Springs and PS Resorts, I’m hoping people will respect it,” Dada told the newspaper. “It’s time for the community to be united rather than divided.”
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The unveiling is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. Sunday with DJ music from DJs, speeches from local officials and a flyover from the Palm Springs Air Museum, organizers told the newspaper. Then the statue will be formally unveiled around 8 p.m.
Marilyn Monroe died of a drug overdose in Los Angeles on Aug. 4, 1962. She was 36 years old.