Anti-Obama billboard comes down, but animosity on rise

The billboard may be gone, but the ill will it engendered is lingering statewide.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported that a billboard by a Loma artist depicting President Barack Obama as a gangster, a Mexican bandit, a gay man and a terrorist was taken down Friday morning — much to the relief of a business owner beneath the infamous sign.

The paper quoted Doris Downey, owner of J&S Fence Co., saying the billboard was a major disruption because it was so detailed that people had to come into the company’s lot to really see it.

“It was hard for my trucks to get out and hard for customers to come in,” Downey told the paper. “I defend the freedom of speech people have to put up the sign, but I have to say I’m thrilled it’s gone.”

Mi Familia Vota, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition and One Colorado condemned the sign despite its removal Friday.

“The cowards behind the Grand Junction hate speech billboard should come forward and take it down immediately,” director for Mi Familia Vota Education Fund Jessie Ulibarri told the Sentinel. “Spewing hate behind a veil of secrecy and money allows discrimination and violence against immigrants and LGBT people to fester. Coloradans are tired of divisive politics, and we need to focus on the real issues facing our state, rather than creating false scapegoats for the ills of the world.”

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