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Man Arrested for Smearing Ketchup on 'Father of Gynecology'

He performed skit at controversial Alabama monument
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2018 8:32 AM CDT

(Newser) – The "father of modern gynecology" is a man some people would now prefer to forget—but police in Alabama still won't let you smear ketchup on his statue. A 74-year-old activist was arrested on Confederate Memorial Day—that's April 23—for "criminal tampering" after leaving the condiment on a monument to 19th-century doctor J. Marion Sims, who experimented on enslaved women without anesthesia, AL.com reports. Jon Broadway performed a skit in front of the statue with a black woman who played the role of one of Sims' patients; the ketchup was a stand-in for blood. Sims "was a butcher. He didn't try to save black babies, he just used us like guinea pigs," the woman says in the skit. It's not clear whether the women Sims experimented on consented to the surgery.

Broadway, who played Sims in the skit, is part of a group of Montgomery citizens who want to spark discussion of racial issues. "How do you get white people to acknowledge there are deep wounds that have not been addressed?" he says. He spent eight hours in jail after the arrest—and had to leave in his long johns because the ketchup-splattered scrubs he had been wearing were confiscated as evidence. Broadway has a September trial date. Alabama Public Radio reports that activists want Sims' statue removed from the grounds of the Alabama Capitol, but removal is blocked under a 2017 state law requiring a committee to approve the relocation of monuments that have been in public places for more than 40 years. (The statue of Sims in New York's Central Park came down last month.)

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