Seneca Scott, a community organizer in Oakland, California, and cousin of Scott King, told CNN the statue was insulting to his family. He previously described it as a “masturbatory metal homage” in an essay published by Compact Magazine.
“If you can look at it from all angles, and it’s probably two people hugging each other, it’s four hands. It’s not the missing heads that’s the atrocity that other people clamp onto that; it’s a stump that looked like a penis. That’s a joke,” Scott told CNN.
The memorial sculpture at Boston Common has drawn mixed reviews online and from some family members. Credit: Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe/Getty Images
“I think that’s a huge representation of bringing people together,” King said. “I think the artist did a great job. I’m satisfied. Yeah, it didn’t have my mom and dad’s images, but it represents something that brings people together.”
“And in this time, day and age, when there’s so much division, we need symbols that talk about bringing us together,” he added.
Thomas appeared Tuesday on “CNN This Morning” and said his goal was to capture “the feeling of love” in the Kings’ relationship and has no plans of changing the statue.
“This is a piece that was selected by the people of Boston. This is not Hank just came and put something. Thousands of people worked on this, thousands of people actually put it together and no one saw this, I would say, perverse perspective,” Thomas said.
He noted other monuments like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Washington Monument drew criticism in the past and “The Embrace” is just another case of it.
A representative for Embrace Boston, a racial and economic justice group nonprofit behind the creation of the monument, declined to comment about the criticism and deferred to King III’s comments.
“The Embrace is intended to inspire visitors to reflect on the values of racial and economic justice that both Kings espoused,” the group said about the memorial on its website.