Taking a selfie? Try not to destroy any statues while you're at it

selfie statue destruction screen shot 2016 05 09 at 5 32 51 pm
History has been destroyed in the name of the selfie. In an attempt to take a photo of himself with a 126-year-old statue of a 16th-century Portuguese king, an overzealous 24-year-old actually climbed on top of the structure, thereby causing it to collapse and crumble, authorities say. This, literally, is why we can’t have nice things.

According to reports, the selfie enthusiast clambered onto the facade of the historic Rossio railway station in Lisbon, hoping to snap a selfie with the one-time king, Dom Sebastiao. Sadly, the freestanding sculpture, unaccustomed to unwanted advances from tourists, did not respond well to the photo opp, and fell to the ground, where it shattered.

Realizing his mistake, the 24-year-old, who has yet to be named by authorities, attempted to flee the scene. But alas, he was apprehended by nearby officers, and has a court date with a judge forthcoming. It is unclear as of yet as to what punishment he might face, and more importantly, when the statue might be fixed. 

The subject of the statue, Dom Sebastiao (Sebastian of Portugal), reigned briefly from 1557 to 1558, disappearing during the Battle of Alcácer Quibir in Morocco. The brevity of his rule combined with the mystery of his demise lent itself to his historical lionization — he’s now known as the “The Sleeping King” and immortalized in one of Lisbon’s main hubs. Of course, it’s unlikely that anyone expected his slumber to be disturbed in such an unceremonious manner.

This is by no means the first time that the selfie has catalyzed some serious destruction. In 2015, two women from California defaced Rome’s famed Colosseum by carving their initials into the walls with a coin. Because apparently, nothing is sacred anymore.

So the next time you’re trying to take a selfie, just try not to destroy any history while you’re at it.


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