PAFA Art Model Fired After Racist Tirade on Broad Street

The video is hard to watch.

Bryan Christopher Sawyer via Facebook

Bryan Christopher Sawyer via Facebook

UPDATE: New video has emerged that shows yet another awful encounter between Bryan Christopher Sawyer and the woman in the original video. For the full story, go here.


Bryan Christopher Sawyer was a contracted art model at Philadelphia’s prestigious Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts until Thursday, when he unleashed an unbelievable series of racial slurs against an African-American woman who was sitting outside at the school. The whole thing was captured on video … apparently by Sawyer himself.

We will warn you that this video is shocking. It’s 2016, and a white man said these things to a black woman on Broad Street in the middle of the day. And he thought it was acceptable for him to post video of it for all the world to see on his Facebook page. What the hell is wrong with us?

PAFA spokesperson Heike Rass tells Philly Mag that Sawyer is permanently banned from campus.

On Friday morning, PAFA sent us the following statement:

“Yesterday an incident occurred on Lenfest Plaza in which a contracted model named Bryan Sawyer, who also works at other art schools around Philadelphia, verbally attacked a member of the community and members of PAFA’s staff. His remarks were racist and deeply offensive. Mr. Sawyer was immediately dismissed and permanently banned from PAFA’s campus. We will have additional security on duty today, should he attempt to return to campus. Additionally, the Philadelphia Police Department has been notified and they will be alerted should Mr. Sawyer try to return to PAFA.

PAFA is dedicated to educating and welcoming all individuals, on and off campus, with respect and dignity, as outlined in our policy:

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is committed to an environment that welcomes and encourages members of all diverse groups to apply. PAFA provides equal opportunity to all students and applicants without regard to race, color, religion, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or status as a veteran.

Moreover, PAFA’s Core Values include this statement on Diversity:

We are deeply committed to ethnic, cultural, gender, and artistic diversity in the student body, faculty, professional staff and volunteers, and actively seek to reflect the needs of diverse audiences in our programs and collections.”

Sawyer did not respond to requests for comment.

Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter.