This Halloween display by a Maple Ridge family, seen here Oct. 31 in the 23600 block of 119 Avenue, has been the target of social media complaints that it is racially insensitive. (Black Press Media)

This Halloween display by a Maple Ridge family, seen here Oct. 31 in the 23600 block of 119 Avenue, has been the target of social media complaints that it is racially insensitive. (Black Press Media)

Halloween gallows display by B.C. family slammed as racially insensitive by social media critics

Refers to medieval times, not Black lynchings, says man responsible

Controversy has erupted over a Maple Ridge home’s Halloween display that includes dummies hanging from a gallows, with critics taking to social media to call the display a racially insensitive reference to violence against Black people.

Homeowner Calvin Meier, who said the gallows has been part of his family’s annual Halloween display for the last five years, rejected the charge.

“To say this is a racial thing disgusts me and infuriates me,” Meier declared Saturday, Oct. 31.

He said the dangling dummies don’t have a particular ethnicity, and are not a reference to lynchings.

“This is about medieval times,” Meier said.

READ ALSO: Limit Halloween gatherings and don’t play with fireworks

His display in the 23600 block of 119th Avenue also includes a guillotine with a headless, and a torture scene feature a saw and a body that has been cut open.

Meier said the source of the complaints was an resident who has complained every year, but didn’t suggest it was racist until this year.

He said he has had several verbal clashes with the woman, who on one occasion, according to Meier, threatened to burn his home-built display down.

READ ALSO: The ultimate Halloween-in-quarantine playlist

On social media, comments have ranged from calling the display “disgusting” to an “embarrassment to Maple Ridge.”

Former CTV anchor Tamara Taggart weighed in to write that she has a friend who has Black sons who live nearby and “see this lynching everyday. The bodies wiggle in the noose. This is not funny.”

Editor’s note: the Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows News did not promote this as a place to visit.

Maple Ridge mayor Michael Morden said while the display isn’t criminal, it meets the definition of a “nuisance” under city regulations.

“This play doesn’t meet the test of acceptable in my mind,” Morden commented.

However, the city has so far only received two of the three complaints necessary to formally proceed with full enforcement, the mayor added.

Maple Ridge councillor Kiersten Duncan called it “disturbing.”

For his part, Meier said most people appear to enjoy the display, and he has no plans to take it down.

“They will stay up.”



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

HalloweenMaple Ridge

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Delta city hall in Ladner. (James Smith photo)
Delta launches Phase 2 of Housing Action Plan consultation

City seeking input on strategies and actions over the next five years to address local housing needs

Tom Jackson and bassist Kirby Barber in a trailer for "The Huron Carole," from video posted to youtube.com.
Tom Jackson’s ‘Huron Carole’ concert in White Rock goes virtual to feed hungry Canadians

Surrey broadcast date of Blue Frog-recorded show is Friday, Dec. 11, to benefit Surrey Food Bank

Pastry chef Eric Fernandez stands alongside some of his many creations at Popup Patisserie, a pop-up pastry shop on 176th Street that will be open until the end of December. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Popup Patisserie opens in Cloverdale

Handmade holiday pastries shop located on 176th Street

The COVID-19 test centre at Peace Arch Hospital is located on the building’s south side. (Tracy Holmes photo)
South Surrey woman calls for consistency in COVID-19 post-test messaging

‘Could we just get one thing straight?’ asks Deb Antifaev

File photo
Surrey RCMP investigating death threat against councillor Hundial

‘On Monday morning I received a threat on messenger that basically said to put a bullet in me,’ Councillor Jack Hundial told the Now-Leader

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Barrels pictured outside Oliver winery, Quinta Ferreira, in May. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
B.C. Master of Wine reflects on industry’s teetering economic state

Pandemic, for some wine makers, has been a blessing in disguise. For others, not so much.

An employee of the Adventure Hotel was taken to hospital on Nov. 20 after she confronted a customer of Empire Coffee about not wearing a mask. File photo.
Nelson hotel employee suffers heart attack after being assaulted in anti-mask incident

An accountant at the Adventure Hotel is in hospital in Kelowna

Most Read