St. Louis Zoo Removes Halloween Ghost Display Because of Racism Complaints

Complaints Tuesday on the St. Louis Zoo Facebook page prompted the Zoo to remove a Halloween display that some complained smacked of racism.

Life size ghostly figures with black faces were hung from tall trees by the bear pits as part of the annual “Boo at the Zoo” Halloween celebration. The nighttime Halloween event opens Friday and the display was designed to produce a faceless image in the dark.

Wyndel Hill, St. Louis Zoo Vice President for Internal Affairs, said, “The faces are black so that at night the lights inside the faces would be the only thing that you see.” He said it was never the Zoo’s intent to offend anyone.

“I don’t know that it looks derogatory towards anyone, by the same token however, if someone is offended by it, it touches our sensibilities and we’ll remove it.”

Visitors to the Zoo on Tuesday generally liked the spooky display and did not see it as a lynching scene. But the still photo on the internet showed the figures hanging lifelessly from tree branches.

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