'Fearless Girl' Wins Face-Off with Wall Street's Charging Bull, Whose Sculptor Calls Her a Gimmick

Arthur Di Modica, who designed the bull statue, thinks it's a publicity stunt

Earlier this month, the iconic Wall Street charging bull met its match in the form of a statue of a young girl standing defiant, hands on her hips. She made her debut facing the bull on International Women’s Day.

The statue, which was conceptualized by advertising firm McCann and State Street Global Advisers and designed by Kristen Visbal, was an instant hit. Dubbed the “fearless girl,” she made her way across social media and countless headlines, a new symbol of women’s rights and gender equality.

“She’s been wildly popular,” said Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, who represents Manhattan’s financial district, where the statue is placed. “It’s hard to get through to that area to even get a photo.”

And for now, she’s here to say.

After some debate, N.Y.C. mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that the statue will remain on Wall Street until February 2018, at least. Over 28,000 people signed a petition to keep the statue.

“In her short time here, the Fearless Girl has fueled powerful conversations about women in leadership and inspired so many,” de Blasio said in a statement. “Now, she’ll be asserting herself and affirming her strength even after her temporary permit expires — a fitting path for a girl who refuses to quit.”

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

But for the creator of the bull, it’s no victory. Arthur Di Modica, the artist behind the bull that’s been seated on Bowling Green Plaza in Manhattan’s financial district neighborhood since 1989, after he gave it as a gift to the city following the stock market crash of 1987, says that the statue now placed opposite his is nothing but an advertisement.

“That is not a symbol! That’s an advertising trick,” he told MarketWatch. “Women, girls, that’s great, but that’s not what that [bull sculpture] is. I put it there for art. My bull is a symbol for America. My bull is a symbol of prosperity and for strength.”

FROM COINAGE: 5 Financial Mistakes to Avoid in Your 20s

And he’s so invested in the state of his own sculpture, he’s prepared to take action. MarketWatch also reports that Di Modica could take legal measures to get rid of the fearless girl statue. He’s reportedly planning to sue the company for copyright infringement if it’s not removed by April 2, when the statue’s original temporary permit runs out.

The statue was originally placed as a publicity ploy in honor of International Women’s Day on behalf of McCann and State Street Global Advisers. Others on social media have echoed his sentiments.

And a MarketWatch online poll of nearly 10,000 people has 68 percent of respondents saying it’s out of place and should be removed from the spot.

Of course, for the statue’s fans and admirers, it’s developed into something much more than that.

“[She] is standing up against something and we see her as a powerful image,” N.Y.C. tourist Holly Sargeant told AP. “She represents all the young women in the world that want to make a difference.”

And for others, an extension to next February isn’t doing enough: New York City Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, along with a number of bipartisan leaders, wants to make the statue a permanent fixture in Lower Manhattan.

One of those leaders is the designer behind the Fearless Girl, Visbal. She says that the statue isn’t meant to show any disrespect to the bull, but it represents another message.

“I love Charging Bull!” Visbal told AP. “But women are here, and we’re here to stay.”

Related Articles