Fearless Girl’s reign as one of the 21st century’s top cultural icons seems all but assured, but the legal dispute between the sculptor who designed the statue and the investment firm that sponsored it shows no sign of stopping.In the latest development last month, Judge Gregory H. Woods of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dealt a victory to the artist, Kristen Visbal, denying a motion for dismissal by investment management firm State Street Global Advisors (SSGA).Visbal claims the firm interfered with her contract, infringed upon her copyright and committed fraud by not giving her proper attribution for the work at all times, amounting to an attempt to “rob her of making a living from her art.” These accusations form part of a counterclaim in response to a breach-of-contract lawsuit State Street filed on Valentine’s Day 2019 seeking to forbid Visbal from selling Fearless Girl replicas to “unauthorized buyers.”The bronze statue of a young girl with her hands on her hips, head tilted defiantly upward against the Charging Bull of Wall Street appeared overnight in New York’s Bowling Green park nearly two and a half years ago.She instantly became an international sensation, a call to action for greater gender equality and female leadership in companies, but also a target for mockery—and a major source of potential revenue for both Visbal and SSGA."Now that [Ms. Visbal] has filed an amended pleading with the Court, we will soon file a renewed motion to dismiss the counterclaims."
A new study shows that State Street, the company behind the viral Fearless Girl statue, has voted against gender diversity initiatives on several occasions—moves that stand in contrast to the self-proclaimed ethos of the Fearless Girl campaign.Today, Morningstar released a study that showed that SHE, State Street’s Gender Diversity Index ETF, which invests in companies with females in top roles, voted no on six and abstained from an additional two out of 10 total gender diversity-related shareholder resolutions over the past three years.SHE also voted no on all five resolutions related to pay equity that it had been presented with.Other resolutions it voted against included proposals from both Aetna and Mastercard to compile annual reports on the gender pay gap at the company and a gender pay equity disclosure at American Express.SHE’s key goal is to increase female representation on corporate boards.“In the past couple of years we have engaged with hundreds of companies on the importance of diversity, voted against directors over 1,000 times for lack of board gender diversity, and been a vocal proponent of the value of diversity in writing and speech,” a State Street spokesperson said in a statement in response to Adweek’s request for comment on the study.