Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Stuffed Monkey Display Seen As Racist Removed

The display has spurred mixed reaction from the community and even more from the local monkeys.

A Cobb County business owner insists he never intended to offend anyone with a display on his property that many considered racist.

Hubert Johnson, owner of Johnson Drilling Company in Mableton, took down the giant stuffed monkey that was hanging from a crane on Monday morning to avoid further controversy.

The monkey's face, hands and feet were painted black, and he was draped in a Confederate battle flag.

When neighbors saw the monkey, many were outraged.

"He should know that in the days of the Ku Klux Klan, the monkey was used as a symbol of the black man," said neighbor Kathy Flowers. "So what it said to me was, we're going to lynch the black people. That's exactly what it said to me."

But even as he removed it, Johnson said there was an innocent explanation for his display.

"The message was to the personnel, to my employees, to not monkey around with safety, to get rigged up properly before they go in the shaftts," Johnson said.

When asked about the Confederate battle flag, Johnson said, "The flag didn't have anything to do with it. They just hung it on him for a cape, some of the workers did. I don't even know who put it on it."

Story here.

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