This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
A tattoo artist in Argentina says he wants to take legal action against a Canadian oilfield company for altering one of his images to create a sticker showing Greta Thunberg in a disturbing sex act.
The decal shows a young girl from behind, with a pair of hands holding what appear to be 17-year-old Thunberg’s signature braids, and the name “Greta” on her back. The Alberta-based X-Site Energy Services logo appears beneath the image.
German Canalla said he was shocked to find that one of his designs was used to make the sticker and in an interview with VICE he expressed disgust towards the people behind it. "I made an erotic drawing because everyone fucks and makes love, anyway you want to call it. But they changed it to be raping a teen girl and that’s so bad. I don’t know how grown men can think that’s a joke," he said. "Rape culture is the worst.”
Canalla’s art features graphic sex acts and nudity but he says it is consensual, “never about rape and child abuse.” He said he’s meeting with a copyright lawyer to discuss his legal options, including suing X-Site Energy Services. He said he doesn't have a lot of money but he's willing to come to Canada if he has a case.
On Monday, X-Site Energy issued an apology on its site. “Explicit images and personal attacks on anyone are unacceptable,” it said. “Management accepts full responsibility,” and is “committed to recovering and destroying the decals we distributed.”
In a news release Friday, Alberta RCMP said it did not find that the decal posed a direct threat to Thunberg. “In consultation with police officers whose expertise includes the sexual exploitation of children, Red Deer RCMP determined that the decal does not meet the elements of child pornography.”
Despite its finding, the image caused widespread condemnation. Alexandre Boulerice, an NDP MP from Quebec, requested that the House of Commons condemns the “disgusting” sticker that “clearly shows sexual assault against Greta Thunberg.”
Thunberg commented on the graphic image on Saturday, tweeting, “They are starting to get more and more desperate… This shows that we’re winning.”
Note: This story has been updated with comment from Canalla.
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