Two More Individuals Accuse Artist Kehinde Wiley Of Sexual Assault, Which Wiley Vehemently Denies

Kehinde Wiley, best known for his portrait of U.S. President Barack Obama, has responded to allegations of sexual assault made last month by Ghanian art figure Joseph Awuah-Darko.

Awuah-Darko accused the painter of assaulting him at a June 2021 dinner held in Wiley’s honor at the Creative Art Council at the Noldor Artist Residency, which Awuah-Darko founded in 2020. Wiley previously denied the allegations but has now posted on Instagram to call the accusations “baseless and defamatory,” while providing screenshots of messages between the two.

“We were flirting all night. Around 4 a.m., he came to my hotel room. We had a one-time encounter. Everything was consensual,” Wiley wrote in the June 11 post of his first meeting with Awuah-Darko. He shared a picture of the two smiling and speaking to each other during the event with a screenshot of a social media post by Awuah-Darko in which he called hosting the artist “a dream.”

In the same Instagram post, Wiley also shared a screenshots showing apparently friendly messages between the pair. He called it the beginning of “years of Joseph aggressively pursuing a relationship” with him. He noted that in February 2022, nearly a year after the alleged sexual assault, Awuah-Darko flew from London to Lagos, Nigeria, to attend his birthday party.

In August, Awuah-Darko had allegedly invited himself to visit Wiley’s cabin in upstate New York. Wiley said that he ignored that message.

“Since our first encounter in 2021, he has consistently sent me messages via phone and Instagram professing his love for me, my talent, and my work,” Wiley said. Sharing screenshots of his notifications on Instagram, he added that Awuah-Darko mentioned him on his Instagram stories “more than 30 times.” The artist claimed the Ghanian patron deleted “thousands” of posts that didn’t fit his narrative after making his accusations.

Wiley characterized Awuah-Darko’s accusations as a “reckless smear campaign” that he allegedly concocted with Black Lives Matter activist Derrick Ingram, who has separately accused Wiley of rape while the two were in a three-month relationship. In an Instagram post, Ingram said he plans to sue Wiley.

“This person had also hoped for a more significant relationship,” Wiley said of Ingram. Wiley’s lawyer previously told ARTnews that the pair had a one-time sexual encounter. “I have texts from this individual sent after our encounter in which he says I am ‘amazing’ and that he ‘wants to see me again,’” Wiley wrote in his post.

In one exchange of messages the artist shared, Ingram said he missed Wiley’s company and that he wanted to see him again, to which Wiley replied: “I’m headed to Africa.”

“What is clear is that my accusers wanted far more than I was willing to give them. Does that give them the right to commit character assassination? No it does not,” Wiley said in his post. “We live in a world where a single false social media post can destroy someone’s life, where people are tried and convicted online without regard for the truth.”

After Wiley made his post, Awuah-Darko responded on Instagram, calling Wiley’s defense “victim shaming.” He added that he sent copies of the admittedly flirtatious messages to The New York Times in April.

“I knew it would be used against me, predictably,” Awuah-Darko said. “I have zero interest in being the ‘perfect victim.’” He added that he stands by every accusation he made against Wiley and that he would be joining in Ingram’s lawsuit against him.

A third accuser against Wiley has also come forward, as noted by Awuah-Darko. That person is Nathaniel Lloyd Richards. In a statement to Hyperallergic, he said Wiley inappropriately touched him on a date in 2019.

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