As Americans began preparing their homes for trick or treaters with fake cobwebs, pumpkins, and whatever this is, one Utah man decided to join in on the Halloween fun by decorating his garage with a giant, bloodred sign that read, "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. PURGE AND PURIFY."
The man behind the display, Kade Rogers, told VICE the sign hasn't made his neighbors in Roy, Utah, too happy. Rogers, a Trump fan, said he's received death threats, been ran off the road, and had his car keyed by some of the dozens of people condemning the sign as racist. According to FOX 13, the Roy city manager has received several phone calls from folks who see the sign as a call to "purge" minorities.
One of Rogers's neighbors, Nathan Peterson, told the local FOX affiliate his family was "mortified" when they first saw it.
"We thought it was racial," Peterson said.
Still, Rogers claims the sign isn't racially charged and has nothing to do with politics. He says he's just a big fan of the Purge films, a horror series about one day a year when anything is legal. The tagline for the series' third installment, The Purge: Election Year, is "Keep America great." Rogers has also found some supporters in his community—roughly 100 people have urged him to keep the banner up and vowed to buy more Halloween decorations for his lawn.
"If anybody thinks this sign is racist or a political statement in any way, go watch the first, second, and third Purge," Rogers told VICE. "It's not meant to be racist in any way, and it's not racist in any way. I just wanted to celebrate Halloween."
Facing backlash from those who found the sign offensive, Rogers decided to tweak it, scrapping "Make America Great Again" for "Keep America Great," an attempt to clear up the Purge connection. He told VICE the sign will stay up until Halloween is over—despite the fact that someone allegedly threatened to toss a Molotov cocktail through his window if he doesn't take it down.
"I had a feeling that it could offend some people, but it wasn't meant to be offensive. It was meant to be a Halloween decoration," Rogers told VICE. "This sign is just as if I put a pumpkin in my front yard and a witch on my door. I'm not taking it down."
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