Billboard in Harrison Causes Controversy

Billboard in Harrison Causes Controversy

Many are outraged, saying it's a racist message. But the man behind it says it's not racist but a political statement.
HARRISON, AR -- A billboard in Harrison is sparking nationwide controversy.

Many are outraged, saying it's a racist message. But the man behind it says it's not racist but a political statement.

It reads, "Anti-Racist is a code word for Anti-White," and if you're driving along bypass 62-65, it's hard to miss this bright yellow billboard. Everyone's talking about it, snapping photos and sharing them online.

Josh Rosenberg supports the sign and wanted to see it himself.

"I kinda like it," Rosenberg said. "As a white American male, if you say anything about anything else, then you're automatically a racist."

Meanwhile, the man who owns the billboard space is getting more attention than he expected.

Claude West, owner of Harrison Signs, didn't want to go on camera but said ESPN Radio took down its billboard after this one was put up.

They've had customers threaten that they would not do business with them if their board was up next to them.

But to West, it's not a big deal. He says the man behind the sign is simply expressing his freedom of speech.

"If they run me out of business, at least iIm going out of business fighting for the First Amendment," West said.

However, to others who have fought long and hard against racism and equal rights say it sets everything back 100 years.

"It goes against everything that the Diversity Council, Harrison High School have taught the young that are growing up here in Harrison, and I wish they'd just take it down," Dena McGlynn said.

The man behind the billboard signed a year contract with West.

People plan to protest every day until it comes down.

FOX16 was unable to reach Harrison's mayor for comment, but we're told he's expected to make a speech in front of the billboard Thursday morning.

The man who put up the billboard remains unidentified but released this statement:

"Often white people are called racist for opposing the president's polices. On the other hand a non-white person was never called racist for opposing president bush's policies. There is a double standard in this country regarding differences of opinion. Those differences of opinion do not make a person racist. The first amendment right to freedom of speech is for everyone. That is the point of the message."
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