Lenoir City woman's political sign stirs racial controversy

6 News Reporter

LENOIR CITY (WATE) -- 6 News received complaints from some Lenoir City residents about what they call an offensive lawn display in a woman's yard, so we went to the scene Monday.

What we found along with mannequins and signs supporting John McCain and Sarah Palin was an anti-Barack Obama sign in the woman's front yard using the "N"word to describe the presidential candidate.

"I'm definitely surprised this is happening two doors down," said Ryan Koons.

"It's in really poor taste and I think it's going to cause a lot of problems," said another neighbor, William Menshausen.

Neighbors said the sign has been up for days and everyone 6 News spoke with said it should be taken down.

"I think she should definitely take it down," Koons said.

In fact, a black couple who lives several doors down from the home says they're shocked and highly offended. They wouldn't go on camera.

But Menshausen, who lives next to the couple, spoke up for them. "The sign makes a terrible statement. I'm sure they are offended and rightly so. I am."

The woman who owns the home with the sign says it isn't a racial issue, but a political one and she was just exercising her freedom of speech.

"I think she should have her freedom of speech but I also think she should respect our neighbors for one and keep that stuff to herself," Koons said.

"I'm very particular of our freedoms and I don't want to lose any of the freedoms but one must use common sense," Menshausen said.

Although the home owner gave 6 News an on camera interview, she later asked us not to air it.

A short time after our visit, she changed the racial slur to the word "Nobama."

Neighbors say the sign was also drawing a lot of attention from drivers. They say many people have been slowing down to look at the sign, some even taking pictures of the display.

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