Spooky season is in full swing, but a Michigan business owner is getting flak after residents say his Halloween display went a step too far.
Dave Huff, owner of Quality Coatings auto body shop in Fowlerville, said he wasn’t expecting such strong reactions to his scarecrow display featuring President Donald Trump dangling the head of former President Barack Obama by a rope.
Dozens took to social media to express their outrage over Huff’s handiwork, saying the rope looked much like a noose. However, the businessman insists “no race went into this thing,” and that the scene was meant to depict a spine being ripped out, like in the classic video game Mortal Kombat.
A mask of Hillary Clinton was also positioned under Trump’s foot.
“It was a Halloween decoration that I guess went too far,” Huff told The Detroit Free Press in an interview after learning of the criticism.
By Friday, he’d altered the original display, which has been up since early October, by removing the rope and Obama mask. Now, the Trump-crow is adorned with yellow caution tape that reads “PC POLICE” and the Clinton mask sits atop a three-headed stuffed dummy, according to the outlet.
Fowlerville resident Kathy DeTroyer was among those who decried Huff’s decorations as racist, “classless” and disgusting. DeTroyer snapped a photo of the display and posted it online, saying she couldn’t believe her eyes.
“How is this ok? she wrote on Facebook. “I am disgusted that this is in my hometown. Way to display your ignorance. Democrat or Republican this is just wrong. At least I know who not to do business with.”
Heather McClain was equally shocked by the decor, especially because kids in the neighborhood had likely been exposed to the grisly sight.
“It just makes me really sad,” McClain told local station WILX. “This thing had no political views for me. I didn’t even notice who it was at first; all I saw was a white man holding a black man’s head, and I can’t even imagine what people are going through when they see that. It’s just disgusting.”
Huff’s business page was also flooded with angry comments and reviews referencing his Halloween display. The Free Press reported that a village employee alerted Huff to the unflattering Facebook comments.
“Don’t buy from this company. Their racist display is not only vulgar but anti-American,” one user wrote.
“How sad that you would put the livelihood of your employees at risk because of a poor attempt at ‘humor,'” another chimed in. “Your display exhibits bad taste, intolerance, poor judgement and is just plain wrong. What a sad man you are.”
Another user simply encouraged folks to “take your business elsewhere.”
The controversy comes in the middle of the town’s second annual scarecrow decorating contest, in which Huff’s display wasn’t registered as a entrant, WILX reported.
The local businessman said he has no political ties and that he didn’t vote in the 2016 presidential election, adding, “I have never voted for anyone other than myself.”
Still, some residents are worried about the lasting impact the display will have on the tight-knit community.
“This is not a reflection of the community, but people are going to remember where that place is,” said McClain.