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Brian May backs Freddie Mercury's charity in gorilla dispute

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Jul 11, 2013 | 9:06am EDT

Rocker Brian May has attempted to smooth over a dispute regarding a gorilla sculpture resembling late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury by explaining the reasons why the artwork prompted a complaint from the singer's charity. A statue named Freddie 'Radio Go Go' Gorilla has been on display outside The Forum venue in Norwich, England as part of an art event to raise money for charity, but it was taken down on Monday (08Jul13) at the request of bosses at the Mercury Phoenix Trust, an AIDS awareness charity set up in the singer's name. Charity bosses reportedly demanded the statue be removed over allegations the statue breached their copyright, and May promised to personally investigate the matter for his fans. He has now posted a lengthy message on his website to explain the matter, writing, "When the model was first seen, a number of people thought it was a crude and insulting effort - probably to both Freddie and the gorilla! "So when word of this got to Freddie's estate, they asked... (the design company)... if they'd have another go at the painting of the Freddie Gorilla. The way it was reported, it looked as if the MPT (Mercury Phoenix Trust) had 'blocked' the deployment of the statue altogether, but actually... (it was) simply a request for an update to the paint job, to which (the designers) kindly agreed. "You have to ask yourself how you'd feel if suddenly people were making effigies of your dearly departed dad or son or brother, and you felt they were disrespectful. You'd want to feel you had some kind of a right to say yes or no, to protect his reputation. That's exactly what the people who run Freddie's estate do... Freddie's estate were quite within their rights to ask that this 'portrait' be improved."

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