Residents of an English town are now crying out following the removal of a nude, 30-foot golden statue that was taken down on Oct. 11 on the town council’s advice.
“Wigan Council has angered local residents by forcing the owners to remove the statue, stating planning as an excuse,” Councillor Stuart Gerrard told Fox News Digital via an email statement. “There has only been one complaint compared to the joy it has given thousands of passers-by and should be allowed to be erected again immediately.”
The statue, previously mounted as a part of Russell Crowe’s “Gladiator” promotional tour, was towed away through Wigan after five years as a town landmark. Residents, who had come to affectionately call it “golden balls” and “Willy,” are now calling the removal “ridiculous,” according to the Manchester Evening News.
“Sad day today at the Forge. The Gold man is leaving us. He’s definitely made an impact while he’s been here. Love him or hate him he’s been a talking point lol,” local shop Grant’s Furniture, Obscurities & Gifts shared on socials.
“I have lost my evening giggle to work in awe of his pert bum, he got me through some sometimes tough 12 hour night shifts,” one social media user posted. “Goodbye you gorgeous, Golden Adonis.”
“The council has been liaising with the landowner as regards to the need for the relevant planning permission for the statue. The statue has been removed very recently, and so the Council is now reviewing its next steps in line with its normal processes,” a town council spokesperson told the outlet.
Fox News Digital reached out to the Wigan Council for comment.
The statue originally stood outside Titan Flooring Specialists and was later moved to a car park outside a furniture store, where it remained for the last year. The statue’s owner told the Manchester Evening News it is currently in storage to protect it during the winter months.
“The council are striving to be an Arts & Culture capital of the north-west of England, but insist on this art sculpture to be removed. Obviously the statue of David or Venus de Milo would be turned away also in Wigan,” Gerrard told Fox News Digital regarding the statue’s features.
Vintage store owner Grant Adamson told The Sun newspaper he was “devastated” following the statue’s removal. He told the outlet he believed the statue was ultimately removed following a man’s complaint about the statue’s nudity, ultimately igniting the ongoing “planning permission dispute”.
“I wonder if Wigan Council officials would object to the Statue of David by Michelangelo? Or maybe even some of the paintings in the Sistine Chapel or even the ceiling done by Michelangelo, plenty of nudes,” another social media user wrote.
Gerrard told Fox News Digital he has written to the council’s chief executive in the hopes the golden statue will be back in its former place by the spring.