Fearless Girl Begins Move to New York Stock Exchange Without the Charging Bull

Whether intended to or not, the statue became a political symbol to many

Fearless Girl will relocate to the NYSE by the end of 2018. SSGA

Fearless Girl has created quite the stir on Wall Street since it leased out space in New York’s Bowling Green Park last March. From being a symbol of female empowerment to more recently taking a stance on gun control, it’s been at the forefront of some contentious talking points.

Now the lease is up, and New York City and State Street Global Advisors, the financial firm sponsoring the campaign, announced today that they have removed it and officially started the process of relocating Fearless Girl, created by McCann New York, to its permanent home in front of the New York Stock Exchange.

The bull it’s charging down will not move with it—at least not immediately, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

As anyone who’s ever moved apartments or offices in New York City knows, the process can be quite a nuisance so there’s no set date yet for Fearless Girl’s arrival at the NYSE. However, State Street said in a statement that they aim to place it before Dec. 31.

A plaque has been placed where it used to stand, with little footprints and the message, “Fearless Girl is on the move to the New York Stock Exchange. Until she’s there, stand for her.” The message goes on to entice people to spread the hashtag #FearlessGirl.

The Office of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and SSGA first unveiled Fearless Girl’s new home in April. At the time, de Blasio said the decision to move it stemmed from the desire to “improve access for visitors and ensure that her message and impact continues to be heard.” It was understood then that the bull would move with it, but that does not seem likely anymore.

The sculptor behind the original Charging Bull, Arturo Di Modica, spoke out against Fearless Girl through his lawyers shortly after its placement. He claimed the statue was copyright infringement on the bull he placed in Bowling Green in 1989 and asked for it to be relocated. Arthur Piccolo, chairman of the Bowling Green Association, also called on New York City officials to remove Fearless Girl.

After Fearless Girl became one of only two campaigns to ever win four Grand Prix at Cannes last year—alongside Harvey Nichols’ “Sorry, I Spent It on Myself” in 2014—Piccolo issued a statement that argued that Charging Bull should have been recognized but was instead “ignored and mocked by the ad industry.”

On Wednesday, Piccolo praised the decision to move Fearless Girl in a statement he sent to Adweek, calling it “a victory for artistic integrity.”

Di Modica did not return a request for comment on Fearless Girl’s impending move. McCann deferred inquiries to SSGA, which declined to comment past the brief statement it issued Wednesday morning.

“Since March 2017, Bowling Green has stood as a prime example of the abuse of power,” Piccolo wrote to Adweek. “An ethically challenged mayor gave bogus permission to a giant male-dominated financial corporation to turn the most historic place and the most important plaza in all of New York City illegally into a blatant ad campaign.”

He added, SSGA is “no such company” that champions women’s equality, likely referencing the $5 million payout State Street Corp., the parent company of SSGA, made last year to 300 women and 15 black employees who were discovered through a federal audit to have allegedly been paid less than their white male counterparts. State Street denied that claim.

Piccolo concluded his statement by demanding that the plaque left in Fearless Girl’s place be removed, saying “Bowling Green is not advertising space.”

In April, SSGA chief marketing officer Stephen Tisdalle told Adweek that Fearless Girl was “not a political statement” and “never meant to be anything longer than a one-week permit” when it was first installed by McCann New York.

Fearless Girl’s purpose, according to Tisdalle, was to encourage the companies in which SSGA invests to increase gender diversity on their boards. Along with swiftly capturing the hearts and Instagram feeds of millions after its debut, according to the company’s own numbers, the total amount of shareholder assets dedicated to increasing board diversity rose from $2.2 trillion to more than $13 trillion.

@kitten_mouse lindsay.rittenhouse@adweek.com Lindsay Rittenhouse is a staff writer at Adweek, where she specializes in covering the world of agencies and their clients.