Confronted about his life-size statue of President Obama eating a watermelon, Danny Hafley of Kentucky denied any racial motivation.
"The way I look at it, it's freedom of speech," the Casey County resident told Lex 18 News. "I don't know how other people will take it." A
t least one of Hafley's neighbors is taking it as a sign of disrespect.
"If he wants to place it someplace else that would be fine," the anonymous neighbor told the NBC affiliate. "We don't have black people in this community but I'm sure they travel this road like everybody else does. They could be offended. I don't agree with it."
Hafley, who initially put up the effigy just before the presidential election and recently moved it near the road that runs by his home, says he won't be taking it down unless it gets him in trouble.
"That's my buddy. He don't talk. Don't make no smart comments," he said. "If I had a dollar for everyone who stopped and took a picture of it I'd be a millionaire."
Pressed to explain the significance of the watermelon, Hafley again shrugged off suggestions that it could be seen as racist. "[I thought he] might get hungry standing out here," Hafley said.
According to one local resident, the watermelon made its first appearance after Obama was reelected. Prior to that the mannequin held up a sign that read, "In another 4 years, this will destroy us."