Saturday, June 22, 2024

Gay Artist Joseph Awuah-Darko Accuses Famous Obama Painter Kehinde Wiley of Sexual Assault – Wiley Responds

Joseph Awuah-Darko on Instagram
Joseph Awuah-Darko / screenshot / Instagram @okuntakinte

*Ghana-based artist Joseph Awuah-Darko took to his Instagram account over the weekend to accuse renowned artist Kehinde Wiley of sexually assaulting him on two occasions.

Awuah-Darko claims the first attack occurred on June 9, 2021, and the second incident occurred on an undisclosed date.

In his post, Awuah-Darko states, “To Kehinde: I thoroughly invite you to leverage your supposed credibility, your influence, your loyalists, and everything you have to gag those of us who come forward. Because I assure you, you will need it.”

Awuah-Darko said that he is seeking “legal action” against Wiley, best known for his official portrait of Barack Obama in the Smithsonian. 

As ArtNews reports, in the post, Awuah-Darko wrote … “On 9th June 2021 – I was sexually assaulted by @kehindewiley. It almost destroyed me. I hope my words and opennness about my painful experience empower others to come forward. I hope all that unravels creates a path towards not only accountability but recompense and collective healing for other victims.”

Awuah-Darko alleges that Wiley “inappropriately groped” him and violently sexually assaulted him. He acknowledged his challenge in speaking out sooner about the alleged attack, citing the pervasive anti-LGBTQIA+ sentiment in Ghana.

“I am actively seeking legal action and hope that speaking about my abuse will empower other victims to do the same,” Awuah-Darko told ARTnews in a direct message on Instagram.

In his own Instagram statement, Wiley denied the allegations, and said his relationship with Awuah-Darko was “consensual.”

“Someone I had a brief, consensual relationship with is now making false, disturbing, and defamatory accusations about our time together,” Wiley said. 

“These claims are deeply hurtful to me, and I will pursue all legal options to bring the truth to light and clear my name. These claims are also a slap in the face for all victims of sexual abuse. I have no idea why this individual has decided to target me this way, particularly since he has been trying to be part of my life ever since we met – flying to Nigeria to attend my birthday party, attempting to visit my home in upstate in New York, sending me warm and cordial text messages, and almost a year ago to the day attending my exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco and posting to Instagram that the show by his ‘dear friend’ was ‘breathtaking,’” Wiley continued. 

“He has posted extensively on Instagram about his struggles with mental illness and I hope he gets help with whatever he is going through. I will vigorously defend my name and reputation,” he added.

Obama portrait
Washington, DC – June 01, 2018: People near the portrait of the 44th president of the United States Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley in National Portrait Gallery in DC. — Photo by Bumble

On Sunday, Awuah-Darko responded to Wiley’s statement in a direct message to ARTnews.

“Reconciling with the painful reality of Kehinde’s assault against me was something that I only accepted in late October 2023, when I confided in one of my best friends, who is a gallerist. That is how recent my acceptance of my assault was and after years of therapy over time,” Awuah-Darko wrote.

“My relationship with Kehinde in months and moments prior to my epiphany of the abuse I experienced under his hand, would have been friendly and even cordial; whether it was the birthday party he invited me to or discussions about the possibility of meeting. Much like his OTHER VICTIMS. I think it is important to constantly challenge the misconception that a sexual predator is a complete stranger,” Awuah-Darko continued. 

“There is evidence to show that almost over 90% of sexual abuse cases reported are those where victims know the predator intimately or as family or a friend. I am of sound mind and stand by the integrity of statement today,” he added. 

According to ArtNews, Joseph comes from one of the wealthiest families in Ghana, with a reputed net worth of $650 million, per GhanaWeb.

READ MORE FROM EURWEB.COM: Actress Kristin Chenoweth Distressed by Diddy-Cassie Abuse Tape

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