A man ordered by his neighborhood zoning board to remove two statues of “Transformers” characters says he may sue the board.
Newton Howard, a Georgetown University neuroscience professor, was ordered by the Georgetown Advisory Neighborhood Commission to take down statues of the “Transformers” characters Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, DCist reported. A city inspector had previously told Howard that the statues violated a zoning rule, and multiple neighbors had expressed complaints.
What’s the harm in two life-size Transformers statues standing sentry outside a house in Georgetown?
— DCist (@DCist) March 3, 2021
“The Transformers convey the message of humans coexisting with machines,” Howard explained to DCist of his passion for the films. “Children absolutely love them.”
Howard’s neighbors, however, do not.
Former NBC News reporter Luke Russert, one of the neighbors who complained about the statues, asked DCist, “What’s to stop someone from putting up a statue of Joseph Stalin and saying well this is provocative, it’s art, it speaks to me?” (RELATED: Many Unhappy With Communist Statues Across the US)
The Georgetown Advisory Neighborhood Commission told Howard that he was not allowed to keep the statues outside because he did not receive approval from the Old Georgetown Board, a body that regulates all property in the neighborhood. The case is similar to that of A Song Of Ice And Fire author George R.R. Martin, who was denied permission to build a model of Winterfell castle by the Santa Fe Historic District Review Board, according to Reason Magazine.
If the “Transformers” are again rejected, “I will take it to the next level and fight it in court,” Howard told DCist. “I believe they are not doing any harm. They are bringing joy.”