Kehinde Wiley Accused of Sexual Assault By Joseph Awuah-Darko

Awuah-Darko claimed that Wiley assaulted him at a dinner in Ghana in 2021.

Renowned artist Kehinde Wiley has been accused of sexual assault by Ghanaian artist Joseph Awuah-Darko, Art News reports.

In an Instagram post on Sunday (May 19),  Awuah-Darko said he is seeking “legal action”, he claims that he was assaulted twice during a dinner given in his honor by Ghana’s Creative Art Council at the Noldor Artist Residency.

“On 9th June 2021 – I was sexually assaulted by @kehindewiley. It almost destroyed me,” Awuah-Darko wrote. “I hope my words and openness about my painful experience empower others to come forward. I hope all that unravels creates a path towards not only accountability but recompense and collective healing for other victims.”

Awuah-Darko went on to say that Wiley “inappropriately groped” him first and then grabbed his buttocks. He also noted that a “much more severe and violent” interaction happened later in the evening but he did not disclose any details about the alleged incident. 

Because Wiley is gay, Awuah-Darko said he had “difficulty confronting” the alleged assault due to prevalent anti-LGBTQIA+ sentiment in Ghana.

“I am actively seeking legal action and hope that speaking about my abuse will empower other victims to do the same,” Awuah-Darko added.

Following Awuah-Darko’s post, Wiley shared a post of his own where he vehemently denied the allegations levied against him and described their relationship as “consensual.”

“Someone I had a brief, consensual relationship with is now making false, disturbing, and defamatory accusations about our time together,” Wiley said. "I kindly ask for privacy as I work to clear my name."

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In response, Awuah-Darko shared a message to Art News.

“Reconciling with the painful reality of Kehinde’s assault against me was something that I only accepted in late October 2023, when I confided in one of my best friends, who is a gallerist. That is how recent my acceptance of my assault was and after years of therapy over time,” Awuah-Darko wrote. 

“My relationship with Kehinde in months and moments prior to my epiphany of the abuse I experienced under his hand, would have been friendly and even cordial; whether it was the birthday party he invited me to or discussions about the possibility of meeting,” Awuah-Darko continued. “Much like his OTHER VICTIMS. I think it is important to constantly challenge the misconception that a sexual predator is a complete stranger.”

In March, Awuah-Darko shared that he was sexually assaulted by “someone who outranks me” on Instagram but he did not name Wiley as the perpetrator. He also asked his followers to donate $200,000 for “projected legal fees.” 

With a reputed net worth of $650 million, the Awuah-Darkos is one of the wealthiest families in Ghana, according to GhanaWeb.

Wiley came to prominence for his portraits and for his paintings of Black people in the style of grand European opulence typically associated with kings, queens, and assorted nobles. 

Wiley is known for his portraits of President Barack Obama, Spike Lee, and Carmelo Anthony.

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