Fundraising Goal for Detroit RoboCop Statue Met
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) – It was a 1987 cult classic. “RoboCop” is the story of a hero officer killed in a shootout, but brought back to life as a half man, half machine cyborg, who defended Detroit against crime.
Last week on Twitter, someone came up with the idea of putting up a RoboCop statue in Detroit.
Mayor Dave Bing tweeted back, “There are not any plans to erect a statue to RoboCop. Thank you for your message.”
But that wasn’t the end of the story.
The idea soon became a movement on Facebook and then other websites. Now, just six days later, organizers say they’ve exceeded their fundraising goal of $50,000 and a statue of RoboCop will soon become a reality.
John Leonard, an artist and one of the masterminds behind the online campaign, recently joined FOX 2’s Huel Perkins for an in-studio interview.
HUEL: There are a lot of projects out there, a lot of symbols you could choose, why RoboCop and why do you think this caught on?
LEONARD: I think RoboCop for a long time has been a really popular character in a lot of circles, like science fictions fans, and he’s really a popular international character … I think it has tremendously positive effect on people.
HUEL: Where you even born when this movie came out?
LEONARD: Yeah, I was pretty young, but I’ve been a fan for awhile.
HUEL: So, do you actually have the cash here or do you just have pledges for the money, and where is that money coming from?
LEONARD: The money’s coming from a website called Kickstarter … It’s a micro-funding website, which allows individuals to donate. It doesn’t matter where they’re from. It’s just for people that want to support the project, and we’re at $50,000 … What we’re asking people to do on the Kickstarter website is that the more they donate, we’re going to be able to use sort of the popularity of this project to fund some other initiatives or maybe bring attention to some other things that may be happening in the city … A lot of people have been matching their donations to the Detroit Public Schools … That’s something I personally did, and there’s been a lot of people that have been sort of seeing this as a way to bring a lot of positive support to the city.
HUEL: That’s one of the complaints, too, because some people say in the city where the traffic signals don’t work, the symphony orchestra is on strike, some people complain that this is a waste of time and money. How do you answer that?
LEONARD: I think that’s up to the people that are supporting the project, and it’s coming from private donations. We’re not trying to take any money away from the city. We’re not trying to take any money from people that don’t want to give money to the project. At the same time, we’re trying to use this to maybe get support for some other projects … I think there’s been a lot of positive energy that’s been flowing into the city because of this.
HUEL: Just to make it clear, this is private money and you plan to put up this statue on private land, right?
LEONARD: We’re still talking to people about the best place to put it because I think the context and the location is really going to have an important effect on what this sends or what it says.
HUEL: That’s also one of the complaints. Some people say that this statue of RoboCop only underscores the crime issue here and insults the city.
LEONARD: I think that it can be a symbol of rebirth. He’s a superhero. I think if you look at the character … sort of the morals and the positive things that the character embodies are really the driving factor behind this.
We called the mayor’s office, but they had no comment on this RoboCop statue issue.