A photo of the mural hanging at Hotel Edison in New York was posted on social media Monday of a Black man in a trash can on the left-hand corner with the words “Place Litter Here” and 71-year-old Arnie Charnick has faced an array of criticism.
“I took the sign out,” the artist told Daily News Tuesday morning. “I could have made it a white guy,” he said.
Charnick explained that the controversial drawing was inspired by New York city 40 years ago. “It’s a suffering soul… That’s what it’s meant to show.”
However, many of the hotel’s clients viewed the mural as inconsiderate to Blacks and the words were covered up with acrylic paint.
“I welcome remarks from people,” the artist said in response to the complaints. “I don’t like it when they get lawyers.”
The entire drawing portrays Times Square in three different eras and it included Al Jolson, a Jazz singer in Black face.
“‘The Jazz Singer’ was the first talkie,” said Charnick. “And while it wasn’t in my consciousness, a white actor in blackface taking a knee relates to Black athletes taking a knee in protest today… I support these athletes 100%,” the painter said while defending the racially insensitive image.