Freddie Mercury Go Go Gorilla: Brian May to 'find out' about removal

Freddie "Radio Go Go" Gorilla on Millennium Plain, Norwich
Image caption An empty plinth now stands in the place of Freddie's former home outside The Forum, Norwich

Queen guitarist Brian May says he plans to "find out" why the Freddie Mercury estate complained about a gorilla on a Norwich conservation art trail.

The sculpture, painted as Queen frontman Mercury, was removed on Monday after a copyright complaint.

Jake Humphrey, television presenter and patron of Break, the charity that organised the Go Go Gorilla event, said the estate needed to "think again".

May "thanked" twitter users for bringing the matter to his attention.

'Source of good'

Wild in Art, the company that supplied the 5ft (1.5m) glass fibre gorilla canvases for the trail, was contacted by Queen's manager Jim Beach on behalf of the Freddie Mercury estate.

The estate claimed the suit "worn" by the gorilla, painted by Norfolk artist Mik Richardson, breached copyright.

If the Mercury homage, which was outside The Forum, in Norwich, is not returned to the 53-stop trail it will be replaced by another design.

Mr Humphrey, who grew up in Norfolk, said the gorillas were "only there as a source of good".

"I am a huge fan of Queen and Freddie Mercury," he said.

Image caption Presenter Jake Humphrey thought the Freddie gorilla was "fantastic"

"When I first heard we had a tribute gorilla I thought how fantastic the love of Freddie lives on in such a way that is still able to help good causes across Norfolk and provide such joy for so many people.

"I'd like the people who've made this decision to really think again."

A spokeswoman for Brandbank, the gorilla's sponsor, told the BBC: "We, like everyone else, have been taken aback by the passionate responses to the request by the Freddie Mercury estate that Radio Go Go [the gorilla] be removed due to a suggestion of possible breach of copyright.

"We have spoken to one of the executives of the estate and are endeavouring to see if we can resolve this so that there's a positive outcome for all the charities involved.

"Our priority is that the event is a success for the charities involved, while respecting the wishes of copyright owners and fans of Freddie Mercury."

The Go Go Gorilla trail, featuring 53 adult and 67 baby gorillas, runs until 7 September. Other conservation-based trails are taking place in Colchester, Southampton and Exeter.

The Freddie Mercury estate and representatives of May are yet to comment.

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