On Tuesday, a ferocious vandal urinated on Banksy's flower-bursting Twin Towers stencil, as a cluster of awestruck humans watched. The culprit's name is Freddi, he's an eight-year-old pug, and his caretaker is Elisa Casas, a lifelong New Yorker who was also cast on the Sundance Channel reality show Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys.
Casas would like to set the record straight: She did not put Freddi up to tinkling on the Twin Towers, even though internet lollygaggers (like us) insinuated that the set-up was staged. We spoke with her by phone late this afternoon.
Yes, I'm the person whose pug peed. All this brouhaha over Freddi!
Well, he is peeing on the Twin Towers.
I have very strong feelings about that. The people who seem to be complaining don't even live in New York. My husband, now ex, was in one of the buildings. Besides, the thing with Banksy, we don't know how he intended that particular work—whether it was a tribute or not.
That morning, a couple of friends were calling and texting saying, "Oh, Banksy is in Tribeca today, do you know where he is?" I said no, but within 10 or 15 minutes, everyone knew where it was and the pilgrimage began. I was taking Freddi out for a walk and it was five minutes away, so I went over to see.
I'm a professional photographer—I don't really do it for a living anymore, but that's my background—and I take a lot of pictures of my dog. Whenever there's a special event, I put him in the middle of it and take a funny picture of it. There were about 20-25 people and I said, "Excuse me, I just want to take a quick picture of my dog," and literally it just happened in a split second. When I went to my camera to take a picture, he lifted his leg.
I took one shot and I realized through the lens that was what he was doing. I immediately pulled him away.
I didn't pull him away because I thought his urine was going to ruin this wonderful piece of art—it's not a Van Gogh, it's street art, it's graffiti, the whole point of it is that it's fleeting and it's not supposed to last. That said, I pulled him away because it's embarrassing. He's urinating in front of a crowd of 30 people.
Pool little Freddi. He's been called a "terrorist" by New York Magazine. He was called the Al Qaeda Dog. But other people are like, "He's my hero. He understands Banksy better than anyone else." The whole thing is silly.
It is very silly.
Look, certainly I think there's a huge difference between what Freddi did and what happened today, where somebody took a can of spraypaint and ruined things for everybody. And with Freddi—he's a dog, he doesn't know anything about art!
That's very true.
Dogs are the original taggers. He's a male, he marks his territory. That's what they do.
Has he urinated anything else interesting before this?
No, I think this is his 15 minutes.