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Wisconsin-Madison Defends Football Fan’s Racist Costume, Says He Exercised ‘Free Speech’

University of Wisconsin-Madison football game (@UWMadison Facebook)

University of Wisconsin-Madison football game (@UWMadison Facebook)

After a fan at the University of Wisconsin-Madison appeared in a Barack Obama mask with a noose around his neck, the school released a statement about the viral image.

During a football game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, a fan was dressed as Obama in a striped jail costume holding a sign. According to The Huffington Post, their friend appeared in a Donald Trump mask.

However, the image tweeted by @woahohkatie zeroed in on the person posing as President Obama.

“This is racism, why was this allowed into the stadium?” she asked.

Since Katie tagged the school’s official account in her tweet, the department responded swiftly, telling her it notified guest services.

Additionally, another user expressed outrage over the matter. Nita thought officials letting the so-called fans into the game was questionable from the beginning.

On Saturday, UW-M released a statement referring to the “highly insensitive and offensive costume.” It noted UW Athletics asked the man to remove the “offensive components” of his get-up, which he did. He later changed into a Hillary Clinton mask.

“UW Athletics’ policy regarding admission into the stadium with a costume stipulates that no one may be wearing a mask upon entering the facility,” it read in part. “Once inside, it is permissible to wear a mask. The costume, while repugnant and counter to the values of the university and Athletic Department, was an exercise of the individual’s right to free speech. The university also exercised its rights by asking the individual to remove the offensive parts of the costume.”

But the remarks were not good enough for many on social media.

User SlimTem declared, “pretending to hang a Black person is not free speech.”

And journalism student Marquise Mays deemed the university “toxic.”

This is not the first racist incident that UW-Madison has encountered. In May, Atlanta Black Star reported the school suspended its chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity after it continuously used racial, anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs.

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