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Banksy says Home Secretary James Cleverly’s comments about his Glastonbury migrant boat stunt were ‘a bit over the top’ | Ents & Arts News

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Banksy has said the home secretary calling his migrant boat artwork at Glastonbury Festival “vile and unacceptable” was “a bit over the top”.

A small boat filled with migrant dummies in orange life jackets was hoisted above the crowd and passed around by festival-goers during several performances at the Worthy Farm festival last week.

Speaking to Sky News earlier this week, Home Secretary James Cleverly said: “There are a bunch of people that are joking and celebrating about criminal actions which cost lives.

“People die in the Mediterranean, they die on the Channel. This is not funny. It is vile. This is a celebration of the loss of life in the Channel.”

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Home Secretary James Cleverly called the stunt ‘unacceptable’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made “stopping the boats” one of the party’s five priorities.

Mr Cleverly went on: “Something like that, I think, is deeply distasteful. I mean children die in the Channel because of the actions of these vile criminals and joking about it and celebrating, I think it is completely unacceptable.

“To joke about it, to celebrate it at a pop festival when there have been children dying in the Channel, is completely unacceptable.”

The boat appeared above the crowd during Lil Simz's set. Pic: AP/Celebrity Photos UK/Cover Images
The migrant boat appeared above the crowd during Lil Simz’s set. Pic: AP/Celebrity Photos UK/Cover Images

The boat appeared on Friday while Bristol rock band Idles played on the Other Stage and were performing their song Danny Nedelko, which begins with the lyrics: “My blood brother is an immigrant, a beautiful immigrant.”

The Glastonbury Live account also posted an image on Saturday of the artwork returning for Little Simz’ Pyramid Stage slot.

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Idles perform on the Other Stage at Glastonbury. Pic: Reuters
Idles perform on the Other Stage at Glastonbury. Pic: Reuters

Little Simz on stage at Glastonbury. Pic: AP
Little Simz on stage at Glastonbury. Pic: AP

In an Instagram post on Wednesday Banksy said: “The home secretary called my Glastonbury boat ‘vile and unacceptable’ which seemed a bit over the top.”

The artist added: “The real boat I fund, the MV Louise Michel rescued 17 unaccompanied children from the central Med on Monday night.

“As punishment the Italian authorities have detained it – which seems vile and unacceptable to me.”

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