Greta Thunberg's mural in Canada defaced days after climate activist's visit: 'Stop the Lies. This is Oil Country!!!'
James Bagnell, who defaced the mural, said, "We don't need foreigners coming in and telling us how to run our business, support our families, put food on our tables"
A mural of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was defaced with pro-oil messages days after it was painted on a wall in Edmonton, Canada.
On Sunday, October 20, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that one of their cameramen was shooting the mural in the morning, which was painted on a section of a downtown "free wall," when an individual named James Bagnell walked up to the piece of art with spray paint and began defacing it with the words "Stop the Lies. This is Oil Country!!!"
He later told the outlet that as soon as he saw photos of the mural on social media, he made up his mind to go over to the spot and "deal with it," adding that his father would have been "disgusted" to see the portrait of Thunberg if he had been alive.
"This is Alberta. This is oil country. My father has worked in the oil industry. We don't need foreigners coming in and telling us how to run our business, support our families, put food on our tables," he said.
Bagnell said he was a proponent of the energy industry in his country, which should not suffer simply because other countries did not have effective policies regarding their own oil companies that stopped pollution.
"I think it's absolutely intolerant of them to tell us how to change our lives and our people. She should go back to her country and try to make her country better," he said.
However, he clarified that he was not against being eco-friendly, but thought of the 16-year-old activist as a puppet who is "doing what she's told," and doesn't know better as she does not provide any solutions to make her vision a reality.
"Just shut up until you have solutions," he said.
Meanwhile, local artist AJA Louden who confirmed painting Thunberg's mural Friday said that he was not bothered by the mural being defaced as it was a free wall and anyone could express their opinions on it.
"Nothing lasts forever — one of my favorite things about that wall is that anyone is allowed to express themselves there, so I'm not upset at all. I haven't seen what went over it, but if anyone is upset about what was painted over the portrait, they can just paint back over it, it's not a big deal at all," Louden said.