Republican figures in New Mexico have criticised two statues of Breaking Bad characters for “glorifying meth makers”.
Last month, bronze statues of the fictional characters Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) from the series were unveiled at the Albuquerque Convention Centre in New Mexico. The ceremony was attended by Breaking Bad cast members and crew, along with Albuquerque mayor Tim Keller.
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The statues, commissioned by Sony Pictures Television and show creator Vince Gilligan, were donated in the hopes they will attract “busloads of tourists” to the city, which served as the setting for Breaking Bad and spin-off Better Call Saul.
Speaking to Fox News, Republican state representative Rod Montoya criticised the statues, saying: “I’m glad New Mexico got the business, but really? We’re going down the road of literally glorifying meth makers?”
Eddy Aragon, a conservative radio host based in Albuquerque, shared the same sentiment, saying: “It’s not the type of recognition we want for the city of Albuquerque, or for our state.
“I think what you saw on Breaking Bad should be a documentary honestly,” he added. “I think, really, that is the reality in New Mexico. We try to say it’s fictional, but that is the reality, the Jesse Pinkman, the Heisenbergs, the man who is running everything, Gus [Fring], and the way that they’re bringing it in from Mexico is exactly the way that it is right now, so we’ve joked that it should be on PBS. That is, unfortunately, the reality.”
Aragon also referenced the removal of a statue commemorating Spanish conquistador Juan de Onate in 2020, the first Spanish governor of New Mexico.
“Now we have brand new statues,” Aragon said. “Now we’re putting fictional characters out in front. We have Jesse Pinkman and, of course, Heisenberg, and we have now erected statues and our progressive mayor from the city of Albuquerque has stood behind them.
“We’re funding those, so it’s OK to go get rid of real historical figures and now, somehow it’s even better to [have] fictional, drug-dealing figures.”
Albuquerque mayor Keller said the statues were appropriate due to the positive economic impact the show has had on the city. “While the stories might be fictional, jobs are real every single day. The city is also a character, we see ourselves in so many ways, good and bad.”