10/06/2012 12:11 EDT | Updated 10/06/2012 12:14 EDT

Curtis Stewart's Harper Nude Complaint Dismissed

Margaret Sutherland

A human rights complaint aimed at a nude painting of Stephen Harper has been dismissed.

Filed by Alberta resident Curtis Stewart, the complaint alleged that the Harper nude titled "Emperor Haute Couture" by Kingston artist Margaret Sutherland constituted sexual harassment, according to QMI.

The painting made headlines across Canada after it was displayed at a Kingston library earlier this year.

"How do I explain this to my daughter that it is OK for anyone to do a non-authorized nude portrait of the leader of Canada and put it on display in a very public place where school-aged children come by the busload to visit?" Stewart asked in his complaint, according to The Kingston Whig Standard.

The complaint was filed in May of this year amid the media circus surrounding the painting. In June, the tribunal issued a notice that it intended to dismiss the application because it was outside its "power to decide," according to court documents. Stewart was given until July 19 to respond, but having failed to do so the tribunal dismissed the case on Sept. 19.

An anonymous buyer purchased Sutherland's painting in May for $5,000. At the time, the owner of the gallery which represents Sutherland, Mary Sue Rankin, told HuffPost they could have sold the painting for more money but that they didn't want the image to end up on postcards because it would send "absolutely wrong message to the audience."

Sutherland herself said she took pains to be fair to Harper in her depiction of the prime minister. "I tried not to be overly one way or the other, I guess I just went a neutral path on that because I know I could have easily changed him from David to Jabba the Hutt with a stroke of the brush," Sutherland told HuffPost in May.


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