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Manneken Pis vandalised by drunk partygoers... in Las Vegas

20:38 27/09/2021

Just like the original Manneken Pis in Brussels, the Manneken Pis LV at the D Casino in Las Vegas dons costumes for celebrations, wearing hockey attire for games, dressing for music festivals and putting on a tux for New Year’s Eve.

And just like with the original, people love to have their picture taken with the statue. But unlike the original which is protected from over-eager fans by wrought iron fencing, the Las Vegas statue (which is quite a bit bigger than the original) had no protection and last weekend he was knocked over by tipsy revellers. Considering he weighs more than 200kg, it’s lucky that no one was injured or even killed.

Casino owner Derek Stevens, whose family is from Brussels, said: “I have photos of me with the original when I was a kid. The statue, its smile, its good-time vibe, embodied the feeling of the casino. I thought if we put him outside, everyone would come by, and everyone would want to take pictures. He’s become like kind of our mascot.”

It took nine months to make the copper and brass copy. The fountain and base of the fountain are broken, as are two of the statue’s toes. The statue is now at the foundry where it was formed so testing can determine the extent of the damage. Stevens expects the cost of resurrecting the sculpture to be at least $200,000.

In the meantime, Stevens said his "phone’s blowing up with messages about the little peeing guy. They feel very sorry for us which is kind of amazing. We own a casino; you don’t get a lot of phone calls from people saying we feel sorry for the casino."

The story of the Manneken Pis is a story full of statues. First we have the original statue inaugurated in 1619 on a street corner in downtown Brussels. But in fact, since 1965 (when the statue was ripped off at the knees and thrown into the canal then recovered miraculously) the original statue is visible but safe in the Museum of the City of Brussels on the Grand-Place and the statue on the street corner is a copy. And the original is not really the original statue since it was commissioned by the city to replace a statue that had existed for at least 168 years (it is first mentioned in writing in 1451).

The East Flemish city of Geraardsbergen has its own distinct Manneken Pis statue but there again, the one on display in the street is a copy, and there is an older statue dating from the 18th century in a city museum, but the original statue from 1459 is lost.

Then there are the official copies that the City of Brussels has given various cities starting with Colmar in 1920 and followed by Osaka (1928), Monaco (1951), London (1959), Broxeele (1979), Benalmadena (1991) and Nagoya (2015).

And finally there are the non-official statues in Coxyde, Braine-l’Alleud, Tokyo, Kobe, Llança, Poitiers, Paris, Lyon, Lafayette, Laguna Beach - and this one in Las Vegas, among others.

Written by Richard Harris