An investigation is underway after an unknown individual allegedly complained about LGBTQ content on screens outside of the Tribeca-based Flea Theater last month before smashing the display overnight.
The Flea, which is located at 20 Thomas Street and works to support experimental art by Black, Brown, and queer artists, first announced the attack on Instagram, saying staffers encountered the apparent vandal on July 11 after returning from a Fourth of July break. Early that week, the individual “came up to a staff member and commented on the screens in front of the building,” The Flea stated.
The individual asked if there was homosexual content on those screens (the screens depicted a June fundraising campaign) and called on The Flea to remove the screens. That night, the Flea said, “this person smashed all three screens.”
How it started How its going pic.twitter.com/Jo7zk8p3VB
— The Flea Theater (@TheFleaTheater) July 31, 2023
A police report for criminal mischief was filed on July 12, according to the NYPD, which said a man reported that an unknown individual damaged an LED screen there with a piece of concrete at around 12:40 a.m. The individual then fled the scene. No arrest has been made and the investigation is ongoing, according to police.
In an emailed announcement to The Flea community on July 31, The Flea staff said it would be connecting with local outreach organizations “to ensure a path forward in line with our values.”
“Additionally, the staff and board are collectively working together to address this specific situation, everyone’s individual needs, safety protocol and training, and our responsibility to our community,” The Flea staff added.
“Our mission remains clear: to create a culture where artists and audiences can commune, express themselves freely, and live in their truth without fear,” The Flea stated. “We will always continue to provide space, financial support, producing partnerships, and other resources to help these artists develop and share their vision with our beloved community. In the coming days, we will be sharing a compiled list of resources with our staff, artists, and audiences to use as needed.”