An Oklahoma man doesn't think he'll remove a mock-bloody gravestone for President Obama from his Halloween lawn exhibit despite an offended neighbor and online anger.
The uproar over Dwayne Dockens' Obama tombstone went public after Jamilla Phillips, a neighbor who moved to Edmond, Oklahoma, less than a year ago, complained to a local TV station, ABC News affiliate KOCO in Oklahoma City.
"Regardless of your political views, Democrat or Republican, he is the president of the United States," Phillips told ABC News, while declining to provide her political affiliation. "I just think it was disrespectful not just to me, but [Obama]."
The coverage of Phillips' complaint prompted a reaction from local Democrats.
"It's disrespectful and completely unpatriotic in a time of worldwide conflict," Dana Orwig, vice-chairwoman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, said in a prepared statement. "We need to stand behind our country and president. But it's also typical of the intolerant and the hypocrisy that we see so often."
Dockens told ABC News that he apologizes if anyone was upset, but that he now is less inclined to take down the front-lawn exhibit because Phillips did not confront him directly about it. He said he learned about the complaint when KOCO News asked to interview him.
"This could have been settled over an afternoon talk," Dockens said. "It's ridiculous what this has evolved into."
Dockens said he set out his tombstone decorations, featuring silly phrases such as "Ima Gonner," on his front lawn as he has for the past three years without receiving any complaints. The Obama stone features Obama's name with lines of painted blood dripping over it and a question mark where his birth date should be, referencing a past controversy surrounding the president's date and origin of birth.
Dockens said the signs were meant as a joke, not to disrespect anyone.
"Just kind of something we thought was humorous for the time," he said.