On Wednesday, Di Modica demanded that city officials release documents showing what procedures they followed when they decided that the bronze statue of the little girl could stay until February, according to attorney Norman Siegel.
Siegel told reporters, "In our opinion, a deliberate choice was made to exploit and to appropriate the 'Charging Bull' through the placement of 'Fearless Girl.'"
Di Modica claims that the girl is an "advertising trick" propagated by New York ad firm McCann and Boston-based investment firm State Street Global Advisors, two huge corporate entities.
The 4-foot, 11-inch sculpture was designed by artist Kristen Visbal, and was first seen just before International Women’s Day on March 8. She was first placed on a traffic island near Wall Street, as a call for more women in US boardrooms, before being moved to stand defiantly before the bull.
State Street also created SHE, an index designed to track gender diversity in corporations.
Siegel pointed out that the inscription on the plaque at the girl’s feet reads, "Know the Power of Leadership, SHE makes a difference," adding that the "intentional distortion" of Di Modica’s bull constituted a violation of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990.
In a statement sent to NBC News, State Street said, "We continue to be grateful to the City of New York and people around the world who have responded so enthusiastically to what the Fearless Girl represents – the power and potential of having more women in leadership."
Visbal’s statue has garnered attention around the globe via social media, as visitors often take pictures with the girl. New York Mayor Bill De Blasio extended the city permit for the figure by almost a year in response to public support, saying at the time that the girl signified "standing up to fear, standing up to power, being able to find in yourself strength to do what's right."
On Wednesday, De Blasio responded to Di Modica on Twitter, writing that "Men who don’t like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl."
Interestingly, the bull itself was also placed on Wall Street in 1987 in the middle of the night without a permit, after that year’s stock market crash. Taken as a sign of hope that the US would bounce back from the economic downturn, public support for the sculpture prompted the city to allow it to stay in the Financial District.