[Content warning: physical violence/assault]
The artist who created “Make America Great Again” (aka “Micropenis Trump”) was reportedly punched in the face by a Los Angeles-area Trump supporter last Monday.
Illma Gore posted on her Instagram feed:
“Today I was punched in the face by a man who got out of his car and yelled, ‘Trump 2016!’ in Los Angeles, just days after I returned home from London [and] just down the road from my house. Though I encourage passion, opinion and emotion, especially though art, I think violence is disgusting. To live in a place where Facebook has given my address to an anonymous third party makes me feel like I am homeless again. This type of violence makes creatives feel like we live in a world where our individual creative input isn’t safe. I am sad that this is the state of our America right now. I am sad that Trump, and many of his supporters, don’t find words enough to express their opinions – they need walls, waterboarding and punches. @realdonaldtrump Please stop glamorizing and perpetuating violence. Make America Decent Again! #makeamericadecentagain No, they have not been caught, and the men drove off laughing. A detailed police report has been filed.”
Trump doesn’t appear to have responded to Gore’s claims, but did threaten to sue her over the painting.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Gore has been threatened by Trump supporters. Gore has received death threats and rape threats, among others, as well as anonymous phone calls threatening Gore with court actions if the Trump painting was not taken down from social media.
Illma Gore recounts the entire experience to the Guardian here.
“At 12pm on 29 April, I left my house to go to the art store. Had I known about the protests happening nearby, I probably would have stayed home. As I walked along Alivira Street, a car full of young people pulled up beside me, yelling slurs at me as I walked by. The only thing I heard clearly was ‘TRUMP 2016!’
Over the past few months, I have become accustomed to being recognized, and Trump supporters and protesters alike have approached me in public spaces. I had always been able to distinguish between friendly and unfriendly conversations, and this was hostile.
It happened so quickly the man had already fled laughing with his friends as I hit the ground.
I messaged my partner to tell her what was happening, continued to ignore them and kept my head down, looking at my phone, taking deep breaths. As I approached the stopped car without looking away from my phone, I heard the passenger-side door open. I looked up, and a slender man got out of the car and punched me in the face as the group began to laugh and cheer the action on.
‘TRUMP 2016!’ he yelled.
I didn’t fall from the impact of the hit, but I stepped back to catch myself, and in doing so, tripped over on to the grass and watched my phone skid across the pavement. It happened so quickly the man had already fled, laughing, with his friends as I hit the ground.
I held myself from shouting back: ‘Is that all you got?’ My mouth has gotten me into trouble in the past and I did not want them to circle back, so I kept quiet. I felt my eye begin to swell and the immediate frustration and lack of control left me incredibly sad. I called friends and I went straight to the police and filed a report with the LAPD on Wilshire. I’ve now learned that, in a conversation with the Guardian, the LAPD confirmed my account but said that without a license plate, photograph or any video, it would be hard to track down whoever did it.”
Illma ends her essay to the Guardian:
“As for what it means for me as an artist — nothing. I will continue to create art. Art is supposed to evoke an emotion. Art represents the time we live in. All I want to do is make better and better art, black eyes and all.”
If making America great again means that freedom of speech is endangered and those who attempt to exercise it will be punished by Trump’s followers, I am terrified to see what is yet to come. Thanks for standing strong, Illma.