Derek Stevens, who owns the D Las Vegas — and the sculpture — mourned its fate on Twitter this week, posting a video of the downfall.
“He never did anything to anybody!” Stevens wrote. “He just smiled & aimed to please day and night.”
The 500-pound sculpture has been around since 2015; it is a somewhat larger reproduction of the much older Manneken-Pis in Brussels, where Stevens’s family is from. According to Visit Brussels, the statue has become “an image and symbol of the Brussels folklore, the joy of the inhabitants and their capacity of self-mockery.”
Stevens told The Washington Post on Friday that he has photos of himself with the original when he was a young boy. And as an adult, he said the statue — its smile, its good-time vibe — embodied the feeling of his casino.
“I thought if we put him outside the D, everyone would come by, and everyone would want to take pictures,” he said. “He’s become like kind of our mascot.”
It took nine months to make the copper and brass copy, Stevens said. And it took no time at all to bring him down.
In the surveillance video, roughly a dozen people surround the fountain where they take photos and dance. One woman climbs on top and dances closely behind the statue, holding on to its forehead. After less than 30 seconds, both she and Manneken Pis LV fall backward. The crowd speed-walks away.
“What’s crazy is in reality, we’re very thankful and fortunate that he didn’t hurt anybody,” Stevens said. “If Manneken Pis LV had fallen on them, it could have killed somebody.”
The fountain and base of the fountain are broken, as are two of the statue’s toes. The statue is now at the foundry where it was formed so testing can determine the extent of the damage. Stevens expects the cost of resurrecting the sculpture to be at least $200,000.
“There’s no question that we’re going to bring Manneken Pis LV back,” he said. “The question is will it be the original statue, or am I going to have a replacement for the replica?”
Stevens said the casino’s security team, as well as other casinos in Downtown Las Vegas, bloggers and police are looking into the incident. He said it doesn’t appear the act was malicious.
“But the group revelry caused a lot of damage and a lot of pain and sorrow,” he said. “We’d certainly like to get a hold of these kids and understand what their thought process was.”
In the meantime, Stevens said his “phone’s blowing up” with messages about the little peeing guy.
“They feel very sorry for us,” he said. “Which is kind of amazing. We own a casino; you don’t get a lot of phone calls from people saying we feel sorry for the casino.”