Australian street artist Lushsux had a problem on his hands last week almost as soon as the paint was dry on his newest creation in Melbourne.
He took an image he saw circulating on social media of Hillary Clinton wearing a skimpy American-flag-themed bathing suit and painted it on the side of a business called Mr. Mobility, which sells wheelchairs and scooters, according to Australian media.
It was big, bold, bodacious — and in quite bad taste, city officials decided. They threatened to fine and even prosecute the owner of the building if the mural wasn’t removed, reported CNN’s Nine News affiliate.
“We believe it is offensive because of the depiction of a near naked woman, not on the basis of disrespect to Hillary Clinton,” city council member Stephen Wall said.
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That was just the beginning of the artist’s problems. When he posted the artwork for the mural to his Instagram account, Instagram suspended his account.
He protested the move by embellishing the mural, painting dollar bills shoved into Clinton’s bathing suit. And he started up a new Instagram account.
On Monday, with the property owner’s deadline from the city looming, Lushsux spray-painted a black burqa onto the Clinton mural, leaving only her eyes showing.
“This is no longer a wall of a supposed ‘offensive and near naked’ Hillary Clinton, it is now a depiction of a beautiful Muslim woman,” he wrote on Instagram.
“No reasonable person would consider this offensive. If you do consider it offensive you are a sexist, racist, Islamophobic, xenophobic, uncultured and ignorant bigot.”
This wasn’t the first of the artist’s murals to create waves. Over the last couple of weeks, he also painted murals of a naked Donald Trump, a topless Melania Trump and a parody of Taylor Swift that reportedly earned him an email threat from her attorneys. He repainted all of them when people complained.
On Tuesday — the same day Wall said the Clinton-in-a-burqa mural was OK with the city — the Australian publication Star Weekly reported that the entire mural has been painted over with black paint.
Lushsux posted a photo of an unidentified man painting over his art.
“Looks like the council wins,” he tweeted.