Maine's Labor Mural Prompts Lawsuit, Recall Effort
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
Well, the mural actually went missing a few days after our broadcast, only to turn up in a state storage room. But it did not go quietly. Susan Sharon, of Maine Public Broadcasting, reports that the removal has prompted a citizens' effort to recall the governor, and a lawsuit seeking the painting's return.
SUSAN SHARON: Governor LePage has made it clear that the 36-foot-long mural - depicting scenes of women shipbuilders, factory and forest workers, and a pair of labor strikes - is too one-sided for a state agency that he says is supposed to serve both labor and business interests.
G: It's the Department of Labor, not the Department of Organized Labor. And until we make that determination, it needs to be neutral.
SHARON: The governor is on vacation in Jamaica this week, but that didn't stop mural supporters from congregating at the Maine statehouse to demand its return.
SHARON: (Chanting) Put it back. Put it back...
SHARON: Artist Natasha Mayers claims the mural's removal violates the First Amendment. She's one of six people who filed a federal suit against Governor LePage and other state officials. The controversy has made headlines around the country.
NORRIS: A Hartford paper called this the most moronic and mindless, antiworker gesture in the whole country.
(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)
SHARON: For NPR News, I'm Susan Sharon in Augusta, Maine.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.