William Gannon, Pembroke Dock Town Councillor, helplessly resigned after rumors circulated claiming that he is Banksy, an internationally famous street artist whose real identity remains anonymous.
Gannon said: “The allegations are undermining my ability to do the work of councilor.”
Gannon served as a town councilor for about a month before the accusations got out of hand. He believes that the rumors are spreading by political opponents, who were seeking to tarnish his reputation.
In a public statement on Facebook, Gannon added: “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. I do not want this allegation to undermine the reputation of Pembroke Dock Town Council. Therefore, I have decided to step down as both Town Councillor and Council Rep to The Port with immediate effect.”
Although Gannon may not be Banksy, he was an artist, and his work made it in public murals at places such as children’s playgrounds and hospitals. His website featured his work as “Banksy-Esque, not intentionally.” On his site, there was a photo of him, from the 1980s, spray painting a skateboard ramp.
Gannon has launched a campaign called “I Am Not Banksy” in an attempt to prove his identity, and he delivered 300 buttons to residents. According to Gannon, the buttons are powerful messaging tools that question the issue of identity and the value of authorship in artistic projects.
Even though Gannon has stepped down from his position, the rumors persist and gain momentum. A growing number of people demand to know his true identity via Facebook messages.
Despite the identity crisis, Gannon still respects the work of Banksy. He said: “If Banksy did ever decide to visit Pembroke Dock, Gannon would welcome a work by the artist.”