Police are investigating vandalism to the statue in Sarasota that depicts an iconic image of a sailor kissing a nurse at the end of World War II, just two days after the sailor died.
Just before 1 a.m., Sarasota officers were called to investigate reported vandalism to the “Unconditional Surrender” statue at the intersection of North Gulfstream Avenue and Bayfront Drive. When they got to the scene, they found “#MeToo” along the nurse’s leg in red paint.
The statue depicts the iconic moment that George Mendonsa kissed Greta Zimmer Friedman in Times Square on V-J Day. Mendonsa died on Sunday.
#MeToo refers to the movement addressing sexual violence. Several years ago, a few bloggers and websites started claiming the famous V-J Day kiss between the sailor and nurse depicted an act of sexual assault and was not a romantic moment.
When Sarasota officers responded to the scene Tuesday morning, they searched the area but could not find any spraypaint cans. No other objects in the area appeared to be vandalized.
The vandalism to the statue caused an estimated $1,000 in damage. Police say it’s because the graffiti covered such a large area.
Police believe the vandalism happened at some point between mid-afternoon and evening, but they don’t know the exact time because there is no surveillance video in the area and no witnesses.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Sarasota Police Department Patrol Division at 941-954-7025 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS or online.