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

Loblaw, the parent company of the Shoppers Drug Mart chain, announced Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020 that a staff member at the 20159 88th Ave. location in Langley tested positive for COVID-19. (Google)
Two Langley businesses and multiple schools issued COVID-19 exposure alerts

Neither business is listed as site of public exposure by Fraser Health

Google Maps screenshot taken at 6:07 a.m.
TRAFFIC: Westbound dump-truck crash on Highway 1

Crash occurred around 6:45 a.m., west of 232nd Street in Langley

Email your cooking questions to Chef Dez at dez@chefdez.com.
ON COOKING: Mulligatawny is tough to spell but a tasty soup

Chef Dez offers up his version of a classic soup

The W.C. Blair Pool will re-open Thursday for time-limited appointment-only swim sessions. (Langley Advance Times files)
Swims at W.C. Blair Pool back, but by appointment only

Most other group exercise has been closed due to pandemic restrictions

Joel Goddard and Susie Fletcher are parents of a baby son. Joel hasn’t been seen since Nov. 10. (Missing Joel Goddard Facebook page)
Family and friends continue searching for missing Langley father

Helicopters, drones and foot searches planned in the coming days

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 - This May 4, 2020, file photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.  Pfizer announced Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, more results in its ongoing coronavirus vaccine study that suggest the shots are 95% effective a month after the first dose. (Courtesy of University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP, File)
VIDEO: B.C. planning for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the first weeks of 2021

The question of who will get the vaccine first relies on Canada’s ethical framework

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Canada can make vaccines, just not the ones leading the COVID-19 race

Canada has spent more than $1 billion to pre-order seven different developing COVID-19 vaccines

British Columbia Premier John Horgan speaks during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. Horgan is set to introduce his NDP government’s new cabinet Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP cabinet built to tackle pandemic, economic recovery, says former premier

Seven former NDP cabinet ministers didn’t seek re-election, creating vacancies in several high-profile portfolios

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

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

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

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

(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

Most Read