City officials have been forced to remove a ‘Karen-themed’ Halloween display after it provoked outrage from local residents.
Campaigning group Friends of Downtown Prosser claimed the decoration in the City of Prosser, Washington, was a targeted attack on one of their leaders.
The group has been butting heads with City Officials over an upcoming $16.8m deal to replace Prosser City Hall and Police Station, according to a report by The Mirror.
In a snap of the Halloween display – which was put up as part of the Historic Downtown Prosser’s annual decorating contest – a scarecrow in a black wig, straw hat, and a T-shirt that says “Can I speak to the manager?” can be seen surrounded by pumpkins and a sign reading “Karen’s garden.”
A representative from the Friends of Downton Prosser claimed the scarecrow’s dark hair deliberately resembled a leader of their group, who was working against the City’s $16.8 million development deal.
“This past weekend, City Hall entered an annual Halloween decorating contest with a ghoulish scarecrow dressed up to look like me. Several people who understood the context behind the display immediately complained to the city,” they said in an email to the Tri-City Herald.
“Prosser City Hall engaged in targeted, public harassment of a private Prosser citizen on public grounds,” they continued, adding: “They created a grotesque effigy to publicly humiliate a city resident as retaliation for opposing a city bond proposal on the upcoming ballot.”
The City has denied that their display was aimed at anyone. In a release, officials said: “The City of Prosser removed the Halloween display at City Hall and has withdrawn its entry into the Historic Downtown Prosser decorating contest.”
“City officials acknowledge the display was inconsistent with the spirit of the competition,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, City Manager Thomas Glover reiterated that it “was in no way intended to be a political statement, a likeness to any individual or community group,” per the NYP.
“We have investigated the issue internally and found that no one who participated in creating the entry intended any malice. These actions were regrettable but unintentional,” he continued, adding: “It’s just unfortunate that some people decided it was targeted toward a resident. I think it got out of hand.”