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- English sculptor, typeface designer, and printmaker (1882-1940)
The Metropolitan Police said officers were called at around 4.15pm on Wednesday to Broadcasting House in Portland Street, Westminster, where a man had used a ladder to reach the 10ft tall figures above the front entrance.
The force said: "Officers attended and remain on scene attempting to engage with the man.
"Another man has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage."
The sculpture, depicting Prospero and Ariel from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, was installed in 1933.
The sculptor Eric Gill is said to have sexually abused two of his daughters.
Two men were seen trying to negotiate with the man.
One negotiator could be hearing saying: “If you just come down, we can sort this out.”
The man is responding by criticising the media.
He has written the words “Time to go was 1989” and “noose all paedos” on the statue.
Images captured at the scene appear to show the penis of the child in the statue has been removed.
A biography on the Tate museum website about Eric Gill said: "His religious views and subject matter contrast with his sexual behaviour, including his erotic art, and (as mentioned in his own diaries) his extramarital affairs and sexual abuse of his daughters, sisters and dog."
A spokeswoman for the BBC declined to comment on the statue vandalism.
The incident came a week after a jury cleared four people of criminal damage after they pulled down the statue of slave trader Edward Colston.
The bronze memorial to the 17th century figure was pulled down during a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol on June 7 2020, before being rolled into the water.