Protest Planned: Controversial Obama Billboard Taken Down
A new controversial billboard along I-70 Business Loop was taken down Friday. The cartoon characters show President Obama dressed as different characters, including a Muslim and holding bombs.
According to the billboard's owner, whom NewsChannel 5 is choosing not to identify, he called to have the image taken down Friday morning. He says his family was receiving calls that were making them uncomfortable. He says they were not threatened.
According to businesses near the billboard, the image was taken down between 9:30 and 10:00 Friday morning.
The person or group that paid to have the image put up has still not been identified.
Local artist Paul Snover was paid about $500 to paint the billboard. He says he was receiving mild threats.
"You don't have the right to put that up you're creating hate," described Snover of the messages he was getting from around the world.
"The intention of the billboard was not a hate message, it was a statement about the direction the president and his administration are taking the country," explained Snover.
Snover and his still undisclosed Mesa County client, as well as Tea Party activists say the backlash is in violation of the First Amendment.
"I'm personally insulted by it...its their freedom of choice---their freedom of speech," said Tim Fenwick, President of G.J. Result/Tea Party,
Meanwhile, local Democrats are glad to see that the billboard is down. ""It's great that it's gone there's no question about," said Martelle Daniels, Chairwoman for the Mesa County Democrats. She added that the public's threats were not right but were a consequence of their actions.
"[It's] something that is homophobic racist and it speaks volumes about the people who support it," said Daniels.
But Snover says he supports his art as well as pushing the envelope.
"Get rid of the p.c., political correctness stuff, it's damaging us," said Snover.
Snover says his client paid an estimated $2,000 for the billboard and artwork.
So, where's that big vinyl billboard? Snover says it's in an undisclosed locked location. And, if you're interested, Snover and his client plan to auction it off in the future.
Fenwick says the group is planning to protest the billboard being taken down. The protest is planned for 2:30 p.m. Saturday in front of Mesa County's "Old County Courthouse" on Rood Avenue.