Thanathorn apologizes after plagiarism accusation over NFT artwork

Progressive Movement leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit apologized on social media after controversy on whether he plagiarized artwork that was sold for over 3 million baht in a non-fungible token (NFT) auction this week. 

Thanathorn sold three of his paintings in an NFT auction on the NFT1 Market, a Thailand-based digital art marketplace, with the proceeds going to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights group. 

One of his paintings, When she opens the door, of student activist Benja Apan sparked debate on social media whether he violated copyright of the original artwork. Thanathorn said the painting was inspired by Polish artist Damian Lechoszest. 

“I apologize for offending so many people. I wasn’t as cautious as I should have been,” he tweeted. 

Thanathorn insisted that his paintings are not considered imitation as he stated publicly about his inspiration from other artists, citing comments from Lechoszest congratulating him as validation. 

“I’m glad that my work inspires you and helps the cause for human rights in Thailand,” Lechoszest wrote. 

Thanathorn also shared a screenshot of an email he sent to Lechoszest on his painting inspiration. However, netizens pointed out that the email was sent after he had started working on the painting.

As of Thursday, the hashtag #ลอกผลงาน (#CopyingArtwork) was trending with over 40,000 tweets.


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