A Utah man insists that his controversial Halloween decorations are not racist, saying that he "has a black friend."
Kade Rogers hung up a banner that displayed the phrase "Make America Great Again, Purge And Purify" spray-painted in large, red letters. Neighbors are shocked at the sign's political implications, according to KUTV.
"Shock, complete shock," said neighbor Nathan Peterson, who added that he felt the statement carried hateful racial implications.
According to Rogers, who confirmed that he is a supporter of President Donald Trump, the message is just a reference to "The Purge," a series of horror films.
"I kind of knew it was going to happen," said Rogers, referring to the controversy, "but it's my right, it's not racist. I'm not meaning to be racist, in no way, in fact I have a black friend. His name is Isaac."
"This is all Halloween decoration, I didn't mean to offend anybody, but I'm not taking it down either way."
"Apparently I'm getting a lot of heat for being racist," said Rogers in a video posted to his profile on Facebook. "In no way, shape or form am I racist, at all. I believe we all bleed the same color. It doesn't matter what color you are, as long as you're a patriot."
Residents debated whether the decoration was offensive.
"Can't people just leave this person alone and mind their own business?" wrote one user on Facebook, who posted an image of a news story about the decorations.
"We have much bigger problems then a dang decoration we should focus on ... like crime," wrote another. "Heck where was [the person complaining about the decoration] when my son's car was stolen last year in broad daylight from the front of his friends house while they were at work?"
"When you display something like this in your yard, you open yourself up to public comment and ridicule," wrote another reader. "Your right to do it is protected, but so is everyone else's right to disagree."
"What a waste of time and our city's resources, to call the authorities over this," said one commenter. "Then to call the news when you get the answer that it's their right to decorate as they see fit ... Wow."
"The sign is causing the problem," argued another. "It wouldn't be there if the homeowner didn't want the attention! When something is thrown in your face, it will cause a stir."