D.C. man fights to keep giant 'Transformers' statues outside his home

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May 26 (UPI) -- A Washington, D.C., man is fighting to keep the giant Transformers statues outside his home -- and he's involved actors from the franchise in his efforts.

Newton Howard, a renowned brain scientist, commissioned an artist to create the massive statues of Autobots Bumblebee and Optimus Prime from old car parts in January 2021, and the installation of the two Transformers sculptures quickly received complaints from neighbors.


Howard's neighbors in Georgetown complained the statues don't match the neighborhoods aesthetic and represent a safety hazard due to drawing in a steady stream of visitors seeking photos with the Autobots.

The statues were a subject of discussion at the District's monthly Public Safety Committee meeting, which was held virtually on Thursday. Howard brought along actors Peter Cullen and Dan Gilvezan to speak in favor of the artworks. Cullen has voiced Optimus Prime in numerous animated and live-action Transformers projects, and Gilvezan voiced Bumblebee in the original 1984-87 Transformers animated series.

"I understand that some people think these statues don't fit the character of the neighborhood, that they stand out like a sore thumb," Gilvezan told the committee. "First I resent being compared to a sore thumb. A healthy well-functioning thumb -- maybe. But a sore thumb -- never."


The Public Safety Committee ruled in favor of the neighbors, saying the statues should be removed, but Howard said he will continue to fight to keep the Autobots in place. He said he is prepared to take the case to court.

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