A Texas man has been forced to retire his Halloween scarecrow after having his address posted online and receiving death threats because someone thought it was racist.
In a photo of the scarecrow that was published on Facebook, chains hanging from a nearby tree gave the illusion that the scarecrow was being hanged from one of the branches. In reality, the scarecrow was standing on the ground and the plastic chains were not connected to it in any way.
The scarecrow also appeared to have black hands and feet, as the homeowner had used an old pair of baseball gloves to create the hands.
“Many commenters called for the homeowner to be arrested, or the house to be shot at or burned down. The house address was included in the original Facebook post,” Click2Houston reports.
The fact that the photo was an illusion did not get in the way of the social media outrage machine however, and the homeowner, identified by Click2Houston only as “Roderick” soon became the target of an internet mob. The photo was posted by an exterminator who had been to the house as he was going to be spraying for bugs. It was shared nearly 1,000 times before being set to private.
“People have been coming by and taking pictures with him for years,” Roderick told Click2Houston. “There’s never been an issue, I never even thought it was going to be an issue, no one’s even suggested this might be an issue.”
Roderick had constructed the scarecrow himself a decade ago out of yoga mats, pvc pipes, duct tape, old toys, and a brown pair of boots. He had also constructed a “Slender Man” scarecrow using white gloves and a white mask for this Halloween season — however, he has retired both due to the internet outrage.
“I’m dealing with murder threats, drive-by’s and house burning” threats, Roderick said. “I like trying to be scary … but yeah, not anymore, no more Halloween celebrations.”
Roderick’s neighbors have defended him, asserting that there is “not a racist bone in his body.”