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A statue to honour Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott KingGetty Images

The son of civil rights leaders Dr Martin Luther King Jr and Coretta Scott King has defended a new monument to honour his parents after the artwork faced mounting criticism and mockery.

The 20-foot (6m) tall and 40-foot (12m) wide statue, called “The Embrace” was unveiled on Friday in Boston.

It marks Dr King and Coretta Scott King’s hug after he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Shortly after it was unveiled, many took to social media to mock it.

Some, including relatives of King, made jokes about the sculpture – which features the couple’s arms and not their heads – resembling a sex act.

Seneca Scott, a cousin of Coretta Scott King, argued the statue – created by New York artist Hank Willis Thomas to sit in Boston Common, the oldest public park in the US – was “insulting” to his family.

“Ten million dollars were wasted to create a masturbatory metal homage to my legendary family members—one of the all-time greatest American families,” Scott wrote in an essay for Compact Magazine.

But Martin Luther King III, the eldest son of Coretta Scott King and Dr King, told CNN on Monday he enjoyed the sculpture.

“I think that’s a huge representation of bringing people together,” he said. “I think the artist did a great job. I’m satisfied.”

His comments came after many argued the decision to leave out King and Scott King’s faces from the $10m (£8.1m) sculpture was not only disrespectful, but visually unattractive.

Boston Herald columnist Rasheed Walters called the statue “aesthetically unpleasant” and a “huge swing and miss in honouring the Dr & Mrs King”, in a tweet last week.

King III told CNN even though the sculpture did not have “mom and dad’s images,” it represents “something that brings people together”, he said.

“And in this time, day and age, when there’s so much division, we need symbols that talk about bringing us together,” he added.

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