A statue of a gorilla, and prime attraction for kids at the Community Park playground in Corsicana was removed by the city.
A spokesperson for the city said some community members found the gorilla offensive – racially insensitive — in some form, and requested its removal from the park.
“We can understand this, because we have an obligation to listen to all our citizens, to determine what is offensive and not, especially in public places,” said Corsicana Mayor Don Denbow.
Denbow saw an uptick in complaints about the playground primate during the last few weeks. There were more and more phone calls, and personal discussions, and he, the city manager and a city council member, decided it needed to come down.
Part of a playful, circus-theme, the man-made gorilla held his ground for 19 years. It was in a cage, since it wasn’t reinforced and could fall over if kids climbed on it.
Most would say he never bothered anyone, giving only joy to children whose imaginations are anything but politically correct.
But now, in his absence, memorials and growing crowds at sit-ins fill the void. A protestor sits in the cage, refusing to move until the gorilla is returned.
Mayor Denbow said he’s open to the gorilla returning “in some form” due to the backlash from people who don’t support their decision to oust it.
“It was a little strange, a little random, very unexpected,” one protestor told CBS 11 News.
Those in opposition said they would have liked to at least weigh in on the discussion.
A Facebook page called ” In Memory Of Dobby” was started in memoriam of the gorilla. Fans shared their memories and posted pics, too.
On Wednesday, Council Member Jeff Smith posted an update saying the statue would be placed back in the park as soon as the weather permitted it.
Denbow published another statement on the city’s website Wednesday afternoon explaining the reasoning for the removal and outlining potential future steps.
One of the planned additions is a gorilla statue, though this time without a cage.