A Utah park owner felt the wrath of the social media morality police after a sign he posted 10 years ago banning people with tattoos from the property began circulating on Facebook.
Rex Peterson, owner of Riverside RV Park and Campgrounds, says he is surprised by the attention his 10-year-old sign has gotten the past few days after so many years without any complaints, Fox 13 reported.
The sign reads:
“Stop!!! Tenants and Visitors if you have exposed tattoos, body art, or piercings Do not Enter! This is private property.”
A picture of the sign was shared on Facebook and began circulating. Peterson acknowledged that things are different now and more people have body art, but he insists that tattooed men - particularly ex-convicts - used to loiter around the park.
“I found out a lot of them were on parole, and that the tattoos come from being in prison, so that sends up a red flag,” Petersen told Fox 13, adding that people appreciated the sign at the time. “I’ve had a lot of people compliment me on doing so. I try to keep the place comfortable for them to walk around at night, be out and about without being scared by somebody whose (sic) a scary person.”
But now, Peterson’s sign is receiving backlash. He says he’s been bombarded with angry phone calls after the picture of his sign was posted on Facebook. Some called it discriminatory and a limit on personal freedoms.
“These people were very abusive. Right off the bat they called me ugly names,” Peterson said.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union movement, Peterson’s sign was not illegal because it was posted on private property. ACLU added that if the sign were posted in a public place, there would probably be a civil liberties issue.
Regardless of the legality of the sign, it hasn’t seemed to deter people with or without tattoos from the park. Rachel Jensen, who has several tattoos, has been living in the area since February and says she’s had no issues.
“Everyone here is really welcoming,” Jensen told Fox 13. “It’s definitely one of the better parks we’ve ever stayed at.”
Jensen added that she didn’t even notice the sign until it began circulating on Facebook.
Angela and Shon Laughlin, who checked into the park on Thursday and have no tattoos, said they didn’t see any harm with the sign.
“It’s the property owner’s sign, so if they want to risk that maybe that’s hurting their business, it’s their right to do that,” Angela said.
Peterson said he has only tossed people from the park for bad behavior. He said he usually calls the police and lets them deal with the individual. There hasn’t been a call to the park in two years, according to Logan police.
Photo Credit: Screenshot from Fox 13