© 2024 Blaze Media LLC. All rights reserved.
Obama portrait artist vehemently denies sexual assault allegations from BLM cofounder, fellow artists
Former President Barack Obama goes to shake hands with artist Kehinde Wiley during ceremony to unveil his White House portrait at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery on February 12, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Obama portrait artist vehemently denies sexual assault allegations from BLM cofounder, fellow artists

The accused called the allegations 'baseless and defamatory.'

An American artist best known for painting the official White House portrait for former President Barack Obama has vehemently defended himself against accusations of sexual assault from several men, including two fellow artists and a BLM cofounder.

In the past few weeks, Joseph Awuah-Darko, a Ghanan-British artist and curator, and Derrick "Dwreck" Ingram, a BLM cofounder, have both accused Kehinde Wiley of assaulting them sometime in 2021. British artist and filmmaker Nathaniel Lloyd Richards likewise accused Wiley of touching him inappropriately on a date sometime in 2019, but when Richards came forward with the allegations is unclear.

'I have a decorated past. I have carried so much shame. But I refuse to be a victim any longer.'

Last month, Awuah-Darko took to Instagram to claim that Wiley assaulted him on two occasions in 2021. That June, Wiley and Awuah-Darko met for the first time, and during that first meeting, Wiley allegedly grabbed Awuah-Darko's buttocks and made a suggestive statement. Awuah-Darko claimed Wiley's behavior that evening was "unsolicited," "unwelcome," and "unprovoked."

Awuah-Darko also referenced a second attack, which he described as "much more severe and violent" but gave no further details about it. He claimed these assaults brought him "shame" and that he spent months processing and coming to terms with them.

"Whatever I may have lost from speaking my truth today was never mine to begin with," his post continued. "All I can do is pray for the strength, resources and support to see justice through and hope that others come forward to put an end to this pattern of abuse."

Indeed, someone else did come forward. About three weeks later, Ingram followed suit, taking to Instagram to level accusations against Wiley.

Ingram claimed that he and Wiley were in a romantic relationship between late July and October 2021. During that time, Ingram said, Wiley had subjected him to significant physical and mental abuse by punching him, slapping him, and otherwise engaging in "emotional manipulation."

Wiley also regularly pressured Ingram to use illegal drugs, Ingram said, including "cocaine, meth and weed." Ingram claimed he always refused these offers.

Then on September 10, 2021, Wiley "raped ... and sexually assaulted" Ingram at Wiley's Soho apartment in New York City, Ingram claimed. Ingram described the attack as "unprotected." He also said Wiley asked him to sign an NDA about it but that he had declined.

"I am not the ideal representative for survivors," Ingram wrote in an attending message. "I have a decorated past. I have carried so much shame. But I refuse to be a victim any longer. This part of my story isn’t pretty or glamorous. The veil will be raised for everyone to see the ugliness that permeates these elite spaces."

'We live in a world where a single false social media post can destroy someone's life. ... This is dangerous and wrong.'

Just 24 hours later, Wiley responded in kind, taking to Instagram to defend himself against what he called "baseless and defamatory" accusations and to share screenshots he claims are exculpatory. While he admitted to having sexual encounters with Awuah-Darko and Ingram, he claimed that such encounters were "consensual" and that Awuah-Darko and Ingram "wanted far more than [he] was willing to give them."

To demonstrate, he shared screenshots that seem to indicate that Awuah-Darko continued to pursue and flirt with Wiley for more than a year after the alleged "severe and violent" assault in June 2021. According to the screenshots, Awuah-Darko was even willing to fly from London to Nigeria just to attend Wiley's birthday party in February 2022.

"Since our first encounter in 2021, he has consistently sent me messages via phone and Instagram professing his love for me, my talent, and my work," Wiley wrote of Awuah-Darko.

As for Ingram's accusations, Wiley suggested Ingram had exaggerated the extent of their relationship. He also included screenshots that appear to show Ingram texting Wiley in October 2021 — more than a month after the alleged rape in Wiley's Soho apartment — calling Wiley "handsome" and asking to see him again.

"I miss your company," Ingram apparently wrote to Wiley on October 16, 2021.

Wiley's attorney Jennifer Barrett also denied that Wiley ever asked Ingram to sign an NDA.

Wiley insisted he doesn't know why these former lovers have come forward to hurl these accusations against him now, though he suggested they may feel jilted.

"Does that give them the right to commit character assassination? No it does not," he said.

"We live in a world where a single false social media post can destroy someone's life, where people are tried and convicted online without regard for the truth. This is dangerous and wrong."

Like Blaze News? Bypass the censors, sign up for our newsletters, and get stories like this direct to your inbox. Sign up here!

Want to leave a tip?

We answer to you. Help keep our content free of advertisers and big tech censorship by leaving a tip today.
Want to join the conversation?
Already a subscriber?
Cortney Weil

Cortney Weil

Sr. Editor, News

Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.
@cortneyweil →