A man accused of vandalizing Hunter Biden’s art gallery and attacking an employee has been arrested, police say.
Rodrick Webber, 47, was detained at approximately 3:40 p.m. Friday at the George Burgess Art Gallery in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City after he defaced artwork inside the gallery, representatives for the New York Police Department said in an email to the Washington Examiner.
Webber allegedly spray-painted the word “Daddy” on a wall inside the gallery, damaging a painting worth $14,500, and when a gallery employee approached him, Webber assaulted him, authorities said.
Police believe Webber was targeting Biden, who had pieces inside the gallery.
“I was trying to paint the phrase, ‘Daddy is a war criminal,'” Webber reportedly told police, a prosecutor said Saturday at Webber’s arraignment in Manhattan criminal court.
None of Biden’s artwork was ruined.
Webber now faces charges of criminal mischief and assault, according to the NYPD’s statement.
Biden recently announced his intent to sell some of his artwork at a show, a decision that raised concerns from some ethics experts.
“The initial reaction a lot of people are going to have is that he’s capitalizing on being the son of a president and wants people to give him a lot of money,” said Richard Painter, the chief ethics lawyer under former President George W. Bush, pointing to the art’s “awfully high prices” as evidence that “the whole thing is a really bad idea.”
“Because we don’t know who is paying for this art and we don’t know for sure that [Hunter Biden] knows, we have no way of monitoring whether people are buying access to the White House. … What these people are paying for is Hunter Biden’s last name,” said Walter Shaub, who led the Office of Government Ethics under former President Barack Obama.
Biden’s artwork could fetch up to $500,000 a piece, a price tag that one curator says is entirely attributable to his political status.
“How much of that value is due to the art itself? That’s easy: None of it,” Jeffry Cudlin, a professor of art curatorial studies and practice at the Maryland Institute College of Art, said in an email to the Washington Examiner. “They’re fine decorative amateur work. Hey, everybody needs a hobby!”
Hunter Biden, who is the son of President Joe Biden, will not share the names of purchasers with his father, the White House said. Deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates insisted that the Biden administration is holding itself to “the highest ethical standards.”
“The president has established the highest ethical standards of any administration in American history, and his family’s commitment to rigorous processes like this is a prime example,” he said