State Street Global Advisors stayed on message on Tuesday, even after its famous Fearless Girl statue in Lower Manhattan was defaced by the addition known as "Pissing Pug."
Artist Alex Gardega placed the papier-mâché dog near Fearless Girl in the latest attempt by a critic to mock the statue of a young woman facing off against the more established "Charging Bull" statue. However, State Street declined to get in a name-calling match in its statement issued on Tuesday.
"We continue to be grateful to the countless people around the world who continue to respond so enthusiastically to what the Fearless Girl represents: the power and potential of having more women in leadership," the company said in a statement. "Fearless Girl was created to stand as a reminder that having more women in leadership positions positively contributes to overall performance and strengthens our economy."
A State Street spokesperson declined additional comment.
Calling himself a feminist, Gardega said he took umbrage with Fearless Girl’s origins as a "self-promotional piece" for a financial company. The statue used to have a plaque as a product tie-in for its gender diversity index fund and ETF, SHE, which has since been removed.
"It’s McDonald’s feminism; it’s corporate feminism," Gardega said. "I did notice kids there that [it made] happy, and I have a heart and I felt bad, but nobody knew the story behind it."
Gardega added that he wanted to defend the "artistic integrity" of Arturo Di Modica, the creator of Charging Bull. Di Modica has filed a lawsuit for trademark and copyright infringement against State Street.
"It’s a real piece of work with a lot of integrity," Gardega said of Charging Bull. "If some artist had made that [Fearless Girl] and stuck it there punk-rock style in the middle of the night, I would’ve respected it."