The owner of a corn maze in Tennessee refuses to remove a scene of a dummy with blackface hung by its neck from his Halloween attraction.
Visitors took pictures of what appears to be the lynching of African-American child in the Memphis-area maze and posted them to social media, causing uproar.
Mid-South Maze owner Chris Taylor said it’s not a lynching, it’s “a medieval scene.”
“There’s a little bit of black makeup on his face,” Taylor said. “He sometimes wears a mask, but it’s more camouflage.”
Death by hanging was a common form of execution in medieval England, but the use of camouflage is unclear.
Taylor has operated the maze for 13 years. When KAIT-8 confronted him about the controversial scene, he said it was the first time he had heard a complaint about it.
"It's more of an interactive scene where, you see an executioner up there,” Taylor said of the young man hired to “execute” the blackface dummy, “he's getting the crowd riled up and then he does a fake hanging. Yea, sometimes you get to jump back out there and scare them.”
Timothy Moore, a visitor to the maze, told WMC-TV that the scene is offensive.
“I’ve had relatives that were lynched and my great grandmother was a slave," Moore said. "So, to see something that depicts slavery and not only slavery but the ugly side where lynches occurred, it was so insensitive to the African American community.”
He compared the scene to minstrel shows from the Civil War era.
"The issue is you have a Caucasian man with a young boy, not even an African American boy, but a young boy with black face. [It's] almost like minstrel times just hanging from a noose. It's something that shouldn't be tolerated," Moore explained.
Taylor says he has no intention of changing the scene and says it was blown out of proportion by social media.
Moore says he hopes more people will complain so that the "interactive" exhibit is removed.