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'Exploitative And Misogynistic': Protesters Greet Return Of 26-Foot Marilyn Monroe Statue In Palm Springs

PALM SPRINGS (CBSLA) — Protests greeted an iconic Marilyn Monroe statue Sunday as it returned to Palm Springs after a seven-year absence.

Protesters gather in front of the "Forever Marilyn" statue unveiled today on its return to Palm Springs, California on June 20, 2021. - The 26-foot tall and 17-ton sculpture by artist Seward Johnson Atelier was displayed earlier this decade in Palm Springs, but the return has drawn the ire of residents on infringement of surrounding natural landscape views and on allegations the statue is sexist and innappropriate, despite the popularity of Marilyn Monroe's iconic dress-flying pose from the 1955 comedy "The Seven Year Itch." (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

The 26-foot "Forever Marilyn" statue was unveiled Sunday night with a ceremony. The statue designed by the late artist Seward Johnson depicts Monroe in her iconic scene from the 1955 romantic comedy, "The Seven Year Itch."

PS Resorts paid $1 million to bring the statue back to Palm Springs, and its chairman says it was an economic boon to the city seven years ago.

"Forever Marilyn is an important addition to our community and our tourism economy," Scott White, president and CEO for the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, said. "It tells the world we are different, unique, and special."

But in the wake of the #MeToo movement, people see the statue in a new light. Protesters are unhappy with the location of the giant statue near the Palm Springs Art Museum and have called it "sexually objectifying."

"The 26-foot-tall 'statue' of Marilyn Monroe is designed for viewers to walk in between the legs, look up her dress and snap a picture of her crotch or buttocks for fun," Emiliana Guereca, executive director of the Women's March Foundation, said in a statement. "It is sexist, exploitative and misogynistic. Even in death, Marilyn has no peace."

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