Comox artist Brian Scott will have his paintings removed from BC Hydro boxes after one of his recent works showed a red swastika painted on a hat.
The art in question is a painted hat with a red swastika that was painted prominently on the front.
Scott posted it on his social media, writing “paint anything for money, vets of WW2 would not approve.”
That sparked outrage among many online and caught the attention of Town of Comox Mayor Russ Arnott, who said that kind of hatred is not tolerated in the community and that Scott’s other paintings on BC Hydro boxes will be removed.
“We don’t want to be associated with that kind of hatred,” said Arnott. “There’s enough going on in the world right now, we don’t need that in our small, safe community.”
“19 Wing Comox is a big part of our community with many veterans living here. I looked at that and his comment about World War 2 vets and at that time I made the decision that we were going to remove his art from the Town of Comox.”
Scott has been seen regularly selling his paintings outside at the Little Red Church on Comox Avenue. But, on Thursday, the church also reacted to the growing controversy posting on Facebook “Brian Scott is no longer at the Little Red Church.”
Scott then doubled down on social media saying that it “Saves me $700 a month, sold two paintings as a result of all the negative attention, thanks.”
But by Friday, Scott appeared to change his tune, expressing remorse in an interview with CHEK News.
“The first thing I want to make clear is I really apologize to all the people I offended. I had no idea this was going to blow up like this,” Scott said at his Black Creek studio. “I just wasn’t thinking.”
Scott says he was asked to do the painting and accepted, adding “Have you seen the price of gas lately?”
He says he now regrets it and is fully aware of Second World War history associated with the swastika but added that he “had 100 people who said they loved the hat.”
Although the swastika is an ancient symbol that has been around for centuries, in Western society the symbol is associated with hate, antisemitism, racism, and white supremacy after it was used by the German Nazi Party during the 1930s and 1940s. The Nazi Party is responsible for the death of millions of Jews in Europe during the Second World War.
The Town of Comox says it is now in talks with The K’omoks First Nation to replace Scott’s art with First Nations art including on a BC Hydro box just steps away from the town’s cenotaph.