Statue of WWII sailor kissing nurse vandalized with "#MeToo"

By Christopher Brito

/ CBS News

Sailor in iconic Times Square kiss photo dies

A day after the sailor seen kissing a woman in the iconic World War II photo died, a statue commemorating the couple was found vandalized early Tuesday, Florida police said. According to the Sarasota Police Department, the vandal used red spray paint to emblazon the phrase "#MeToo," which refers to the movement against sexual assault and harassment.

Authorities were dispatched to the Unconditional Surrender statue in downtown Sarasota after midnight Tuesday and discovered red lettering covering the length of the nurse's leg. After a canvas of the area, officers did not find other objects that were defaced.

Sarasota PD said there's no available surveillance video that captured the incident and no known witnesses. They believe it happened between the mid-afternoon and evening hours, but, it is unknown exactly what time.

"The approximate damage is estimated to be more than $1,000 due to the large area that the graffiti covers, and the resources needed to repair it," police said.

The Sarasota Police Department is looking for the vandal who spray-painted #MeToo onto the statue commemorating the kissing couple in the iconic WWII photo. Sarasota Police Department

George Mendonsa, the ecstatic sailor shown kissing a woman in Times Square celebrating the end of WWII, died Monday at the age of 95 – two days before his 96th birthday. He was shown kissing Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental assistant in a nurse's uniform, on Aug. 14, 1945. Known as V-J Day, it was the day Japan surrendered to the United States.

The photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt became one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century. It was years before Mendonsa and Friedman were confirmed to be the couple. Friedman died in 2016 at age 92.

"It was the moment that you come back from the Pacific, and finally the war ends," Mendonsa told CBS News' Michelle Miller in 2012.

During the #MeToo era, the timeless kiss has been seen in a less positive light. Critics argue the photograph didn't depict romance because Mendonsa, who said he was drinking, simply grabbed and kissed Friedman without knowing her.

"I did not see him approaching, and before I know it I was in this vice grip," Friedman told CBS News.

Others said the image was symbolic of a time when men controlled women and normalized sexual assault.

"It was just somebody really celebrating," Friedman said in a 2005 interview. "But it wasn't a romantic event. It was just an event of 'thank God, the war is over' kind of thing because it was right in front of the sign."

First published on February 19, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

metoo.jpg

Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters to leave White House

Walters departs her role as deputy press secretary for a job with Edelman public relations

17M ago

Legendary Dodgers pitcher Don Newcombe has died at 92

"The Dodgers meant everything to him and we are all fortunate he was a part of our lives," team president says

19M ago

Pence names ex-White House aide Marc Short as next chief of staff

Short, who served as the White House legislative director, has been working at the University of Virginia

30M ago

Roger Stone's FBI-raided Florida home now up for rent

The longtime associate of President Trump is moving out of his Fort Lauderdale residence

49M ago

Trump denies asking ex-acting AG about hush-money probe

The president responded to a New York Times story at an event establishing Space Force

1H ago

Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters to leave White House

Walters departs her role as deputy press secretary for a job with Edelman public relations

17M ago

Pence names ex-White House aide Marc Short as next chief of staff

Short, who served as the White House legislative director, has been working at the University of Virginia

30M ago

Roger Stone's FBI-raided Florida home now up for rent

The longtime associate of President Trump is moving out of his Fort Lauderdale residence

49M ago

Trump denies asking ex-acting AG about hush-money probe

The president responded to a New York Times story at an event establishing Space Force

1H ago

It's Ruth Bader Ginsburg's first day back on the bench

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is back for arguments at the Supreme Court after lung surgery

3H ago

Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel fashion icon, has died at 85

A decades-long fashion career led to Vogue magazine dubbing him the "unparalleled interpreter of the mood of the moment"

1H ago

"Several people buried" in avalanche at Swiss ski resort

Officials in Switzerland's Valais region say snow cascaded down a slope at the Crans Montana resort, burying skiers

4H ago

Honda's U.K. plant closure adds to rising Brexit worries

The decision threatens at least 3,500 jobs, making uncertainty about Britain's divorce from the EU even worse

6H ago

Huawei CEO: "We will never" provide China with any information

In his first TV interview with an American journalist, Ren Zhengfei spoke with "CBS This Morning" co-host Bianna Golodryga

8H ago

Vatican confirms secret guidelines for priests who father kids

Church forbids clergymen from sex and marriage, but sometimes vows are broken, and until now, many children have suffered in silence

8H ago

Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel fashion icon, has died at 85

A decades-long fashion career led to Vogue magazine dubbing him the "unparalleled interpreter of the mood of the moment"

1H ago

Brothers questioned in Jussie Smollett case speak out

Ola and Abel Osundairo went from persons of interest in the case to potential suspects to being released without charges

Feb 18

21 Savage on his immigration case: "I'm not leaving without a fight"

The rapper opened up about his time in ICE custody and how his uncertain immigration status shaped him into the man he is today

Feb 18

Preserving the sounds of rare Stradivarius violins

In Cremona, Italy, the birthplace of Antonio Stradivari, an ambitious recording project aims to immortalize some of the finest musical instruments ever made

Feb 18

Jussie Smollett: Timeline of alleged hate crime on "Empire" actor

The alleged attack of "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has sprawled into a three-week saga of confusing reports and contradictions

Feb 17

Scientist who popularized term "global warming" dies at 87

Longtime Columbia University professor and researcher Wallace Broecker was known as the "grandfather of climate science"

8H ago

"Snow moon" 2019 will be this year's brightest "supermoon"

All 3 of this year's supermoons fall between January and March; here's how to get the best views of this one

8H ago

Misinformation online helps fuel measles outbreak

Tech companies like Facebook and Google are being criticized for the role false medical information may have played in the ongoing measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest​

Feb 18

Amazon wants half of shipments to be carbon neutral by 2030

Ecommerce giant has faced criticism for not doing enough in the fight against climate change

Feb 18

Black snow falls from the sky in Siberia, and it's toxic

A pall of eerie black snow covered several towns in the Siberian region of Kuzbass, home to 2.6 million people and one of the world's largest coal fields

Feb 18

Nature's Path recalls gluten-free cereal due to undeclared gluten

Food maker recalls some batches of gluten-free product sold around the U.S. because it may contain wheat and barley

1H ago

Scientifically proven ways to lose weight

Experts say it's the quality, not just the quantity, of what you eat that matters

2H ago

Grand Canyon tourists reportedly exposed for years to radiation

A safety manager for the park says the exposure came from uranium rocks stored in buckets

5H ago

Salmonella outbreak hitting pet food brands

At least two makers of animal food have been affected by a widespread turkey recall that has sickened hundreds

8H ago

Mediation program helps patients fight surprise medical bills

In 2018, the Austin, Texas, program negotiated $9.7 million worth of bills, saving patients $8.4 million in medical expenses

20H ago

Nature's Path recalls gluten-free cereal due to undeclared gluten

Food maker recalls some batches of gluten-free product sold around the U.S. because it may contain wheat and barley

1H ago

How to make money in the stock market over time

Watching stocks swing up and down can be scary — but not if you keep these basic investment tips in mind

4H ago

Honda's U.K. plant closure adds to rising Brexit worries

The decision threatens at least 3,500 jobs, making uncertainty about Britain's divorce from the EU even worse

6H ago

Americans shocked by impact of new tax law: "My jaw hit the floor"

The first tax filing season under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is confusing and, in some cases, expensive for taxpayers

6H ago

Salmonella outbreak hitting pet food brands

At least two makers of animal food have been affected by a widespread turkey recall that has sickened hundreds

8H ago

Ex-cop who killed teen contests rare challenge to his sentence

Jason Van Dyke's attorneys say such the challenge from prosecutors is only warranted in extraordinary circumstances

3H ago

4 dead, including children, in western Michigan shooting

Officials in Kent County, Michigan, say they are not searching for a suspect in the shooting at a home Monday

16H ago

Vatican hopes sexual abuse summit will be a turning point

Organizers of an extraordinary summit said they hope it will mark a "turning point" in the Catholic church's approach to clergy sex abuse

20H ago

Illinois guns "honor system" in question after deadly workplace shooting

Aurora's police chief says Gary Martin​ shouldn't have had the gun he allegedly used to kill five of his colleagues Friday

20H ago

Brothers questioned in Jussie Smollett case speak out

Ola and Abel Osundairo went from persons of interest in the case to potential suspects to being released without charges

Feb 18  Original Article