Kehinde Wiley denies allegations of sexual assault

Kehinde Wiley at the US Department of State in Washington, D.C., 2015 © US State Department photo/public domain

Kehinde Wiley has been accused by British-born Ghanaian artist Joseph Awuah-Darko of sexual assault. He has strongly denied all allegations. The claims were published by Awuah-Darko in an Instagram post, which describes two encounters that took place at a dinner held in Wiley’s honour in 2021 by Ghana’s Creative Art Council at the Noldor Artist Residency. 

Awuah-Darko alleges that he was first assaulted by Wiley when the artist ‘inappropriately groped’ his buttocks while directing him to a bathroom. This was followed by a second assault that was ‘much more severe and violent’, according to his Instagram statement. Awuah-Darko gave further details to the New York Times in a telephone interview, describing how a sexual encounter that began consensually is alleged to have turned violent when it moved to a bedroom. He claimed that Wiley had forced himself upon him when Awuah-Darko had made it clear he did not wish to go further.  

Wiley has released a statement refuting the allegations on his own Instagram account, saying: ‘Someone I had a brief, consensual relationship with almost three years ago is now making a false accusation about our time together. These claims are not true and are an affront to all victims of sexual abuse.’

Awuah-Darko is an artist, musician and curator, as well as a collector of contemporary African and diaspora art. Los Angeles-born Wiley is a widely-known painter, best known for his 2018 portrait of Barack Obama.

No criminal charges have been filed against Wiley, while Wiley’s lawyers have sent Awuah-Darko a cease and desist letter demanding that the Ghanaian artist delete his Instagram post and refrain from releasing further statements against Wiley. 

Most recent


We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, revised Privacy.