‘Just to make this absolutely clear, I am not Banksy’: Seaside town councilor, 49, quits after bogus claims he is mystery graffiti street artist as he says it was undermining his ability to do his job
- Councilor William Gannon has stepped down over rumors that he is Banksy
- Mr Gannon has worked as a community artist for 40 years, creating similar work
- He was in post for a few months before resigning as rumors impacted his job
A councilor in a small rural town has been forced to resign over widespread allegations he is the street artist Banksy.
Councilor William Gannon, known as Billy, has worked as a community artist for 40 years and used to operate in the same locations and do similar work to the iconic figure.
He was first elected to serve the Bufferland Ward community of Pembroke Dock Town Council in 2018, and again in recent elections.
But his spell in public life ended amid claims he was subjected to harassment after the speculation got out of hand.
Mr Gannon now walks around with an ‘I’m not Banksy’ badge on his chest to try and distance himself from the claim
Mr Gannon has started an ‘I am NOT Banksy’ campaign, after the rumors began
Rumors were posted on social media accounts claiming ‘Banksy’ was going to turn up to events attended by the then councilor.
In his resignation letter, Mr Gannon wrote: ‘As you may be aware an allegation has been repeatedly made that I am not who I say I am but that I am the artist Banksy.
‘This allegation is undermining my ability to do the work of councilor and council rep properly.
‘Therefore, I have decided to step down as both town councilor and council rep to the port with immediate effect.’
Mr Gannon vehemently denies he is anything to do with the iconic Bristol-based street artist and now even walks around with an ‘I’m not Banksy’ badge on his chest to try and distance himself from the claim.
Speaking after his resignation letter was published, he said: ‘The story was started up that I am Banksy. I am not Banksy and I have got a badge to prove it.
Mr Gannon is a community artist and sculptor. He said that in the past he is doing much the same as Banksy in the same areas and cities at the same time
Community artist Mr Gannon said: ‘If I am Banksy then everyone is Banksy’. Pictured, a work by Banksy from Port Talbot, more than 60 miles away from the ward Mr Gannon was representing
Mr Gannon resigned with immediate effect and said the allegation was ‘undermining’ his ability to work. He then shared this on social media (pictured)
‘I have been a community artist for over 40 years now and in the past was doing much the same as Banksy in the same areas and cities at the same time.
‘That does not make me Banksy. There were thousands of us at it. If I am Banksy then everyone is Banksy.
‘Anyway, I was a councilor in Pembroke Dock. A lovely town full of lovely people who have had some controversial councilors over the years.
‘When this ridiculous story surfaced it was felt that the council did not really need another controversial councilor so I did the decent thing and stood down.
‘The idea was to keep a lid on it and hopefully the allegation would go away. It has not. My phone has been ringing non-stop ever since. ‘
He said the claims were started by a former councilor he was running against but were widely believed and featured in multiple public posts.
Emails were also sent to Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembroke Dock Town Council urging officials: ‘Ask him to prove who he is. He will not be able to. ‘
He added: ‘Following a number of discussions with various people it has been made clear to me that there are a growing number of people who believe the allegations made against me.
Mr Gannon has worked as a community artist for 40 years and used to operate in the same locations and do similar work to the iconic figure
‘It was felt that, to protect the town’s reputation, Pembroke Dock did not need another controversial councilor dragging the town’s reputation through the mud.
‘As a result of all this, my position became untenable and after some consideration I sent my resignation notice to the town clerk.’
While Pembroke Dock has never had a Banksy of its own, one did appear on a garage in Port Talbot, about 70 miles away, in 2018 before it was removed earlier this year.
Other residents in the town also alleged his real name was Robin Gunningham, who has previously been rumored to be Banksy.
Mr Gannon said as a community artist he was now beginning a campaign to distance himself from all the false rumors.
He added: ‘This is an attempt to illustrate how ridiculous the claims that I am Banksy are.’
Mr Gannon is now set to return to his art by handing out badges in his town which say: ‘I am NOT Banksy.’