The builder of a parade float that was condemned by viewers as racist says he's shocked at the reaction.
Peter Gewerz entered a float in the Village of Holley's June Fest parade as he has in the past. But this time he got a call from the village mayor, concerned over an outcry on Facebook.
The float appeared to include a doll depicting a black child hanging from a tree.
The 72-year-old artist tells the Kimberly and Beck Show on sister station 95-1 FM that he handcrafts what he calls "tree huggers" out of driftwood and discarded objects, paints them to match the trees, and sets them up to hug trees in his yard. He's put them on parade floats before but never got a reaction like this.
"[The doll] was attached on the arm because I didn't want it blowing off the trailer," Gewerz said. "I didn't have it attached around the neck or anything you know. It just is what it is."
Holley's mayor has apologized and police have been out to interview Gewerz about his intentions in crafting the parade float.
You can listen to the full interview from the Kimberly And Beck Show below.
The phone call starts around the 6:25 mark of the podcast.