Caged gorilla statue called ‘racially insensitive’ will return to Texas park

Fox News

A caged gorilla statue that was removed from a Texas park earlier this week after the city received complaints the structure was “racially insensitive” will be put back — without the black cage, the mayor told Fox News on Thursday.

The gorilla statue that has been at Corsicana’s Community Park for nearly two decades was removed Monday. Corsicana Mayor Don Denbow told FOX4 he received about 45 complaints from people saying the 500-pound gorilla statue, which is protected by a black cage, was “potentially racially insensitive.”  

The removal of the park’s notable centerpiece caused an uproar among some residents, who said the statue was a key part of the area.

“If they were that sensitive, they would do a whole lot of things like come vote,” Gertrude Richardson, a resident, told FOX4. “If they are really sensitive, they could come to the city commissioners meeting.”

Jenna Burkes said “the gorilla has been there” since she could remember. She recalled how her children remember the park as “the Gorilla Park.”

city of corsicana

“I just think it’s sad that the gorilla is gone, and we didn’t have a say so,” Burkes said.

Denbow said in a statement to Fox News on Thursday the gorilla statue will be placed back in the park with “some modification.” The cage that surrounded the gorilla — which was initially put in place for the children’s safety — will be removed.

“The city has assessed the structural integrity of the gorilla statue and determined with some modification that it can be placed back in the community park for children to play on or around. The cage will be removed. The city has plans to reinstall the statue as soon as weather permits,” Denbow said in a statement, adding that it may happen sometime next week.

The modifications will include adding structural support to the gorilla’s arm to prevent it from toppling.

“When they first put it up 18 years ago, they went and watched kids on it,” Denbow said. “And it would swing back and forth. And this is a piece of art that weighs close to 500 pounds.”

Denbow said it’s been interesting to see the response to the gorilla statue’s removal.

“Never thought that it would cause such a ruckus,” Denbow previously told FOX4.

The city plans to add additional animal statues to make it appear like a “zoo” in the park.

14 thoughts on “Caged gorilla statue called ‘racially insensitive’ will return to Texas park

  1. HOLY SHIT MAN……………

  2. Whoa…..hold the horses. I saw this article elsewhere, and something slightly different was reported. I remember it clear as a bell because it had me laughing for a half hour.

    “…this week after the city received complaints the structure was “racially insensitive”….”

    The article I read didn’t say anything about the city receiving these complaints, but they had made the decision to remove the gorilla because they thought it was “racially insensitive”, and then put it back.

    It’s funny because by removing the gorilla for racial insensitivity reasons, the city council was making the most racist statement I’ve heard in decades (they’re basically equating black people with gorillas), but in this article they’re blaming “complaints” to try to hide that fact.

    They tried to jump on the racial tolerance bandwagon, and in their stupidity, made the most insulting statement about black people I’ve ever heard.

    1. *** It’s funny because by removing the gorilla for racial insensitivity reasons, the city council was making the most racist statement I’ve heard in decades… ***

      I was going to say basically the same thing, but you beat me to it. To call a mere image or statue of a gorilla “racially insensitive” is to imply that black people resemble gorillas.

      If the gorilla were some sort of Jim Crow caricature, then I could understand. But from the photo, it just looks like a plain old gorilla to me.

      1. Hey #1! 😀
        Got back last night. Given the Nor’easter blowing in tonight, it looks like I flew back in the nick of time.
        Tough trip.

    1. Thanks, Angel, but they won’t let me in. I changed my privacy setting to accept any and all tracking data, and I’m still blocked.

      1. Here’s the story in the first link:

        “Gorilla goes viral: City removes park statue after seen as ‘offensive’ ”
        By Michael Kormos Daily Sun Feb 28, 2018

        The City of Corsicana recently removed the gorilla statue from its cage in Community Park after its was reported as ‘offensive.’

        Wednesday afternoon Pct. 4 City Councilman Jeff Smith posted an update on his Facebook page.

        “Update on the gorilla,” Smith stated. “He will be placed back in the park as soon as weather permits!”

        The Corsicana Daily Sun reported the removal on its Facebook page Tuesday afternoon which prompted mostly outrage from readers and at press time drew over 1,300 comments and over 570 shares. A petition was created on the website and the hashtag #GorillaGate2018 has been attached to the incident.

        Corsicana Mayor Don Denbow addressed the removal in a letter sent Tuesday evening to the Daily Sun and posted on the City’s website.

        “The City of Corsicana has recently made the decision to remove a display in Community Park,” the letter stated. “It was determined to be potentially racially insensitive. This was brought to our attention by a few citizens. The circumstances were evaluated and determined to be valid. It was not possible to leave the gorilla without the cage due to safety reasons. The statue was top heavy and was caged initially to protect the children. The cage will be left and turned into a climbing feature. The City will look at replacing the display in the future.”

        By Tuesday night the empty cage was the site of a makeshift memorial which included signs, bananas, flowers, candles, stuffed animals and even beer.

        The park was struck by vandals overnight who defaced a school bus, rest rooms and the skate park with graffiti such as “bring ape home.”

        By Wednesday morning the removal was reported by multiple television news outlets.

        An additional letter from Mayor Denbow was sent to the Corsicana Daily Sun Wednesday afternoon which stated:

        “The City of Corsicana recently made the decision to remove a display in Community Park. The reason for the decision was two-fold: recognizing that the display was offensive to some of our citizens and a concern regarding the safety of the exhibits. It is the City’s goal to depict all the animals in Community Park in a free environment that is safe for children. Other animals will be added to the display including a free-standing gorilla and a tiger. As budget permits, additional recreational options will be added.”

        A candlelight vigil was planned for Wednesday night at the site as a “show of solidarity and a statement that the people of Corsicana will no longer back down and look the other way while those in power get to do whatever they please,” according to the event organizers Facebook post.

        The gorilla has been nicknamed Dobby and the Facebook page “In memory of Dobby” was created to pay tribute to the removed statue.

        Longtime Corsicana resident Betty Lambert commented on the statue’s removal Wednesday in a letter to the editor.

        “My grand nieces love Community Park,” Lambert stated. “When they came to visit me (until they grew up) the park was always their favorite stop. The gorilla cage was a favorite. They called him King Kong. I can understand that this display could be construed as a racial point of contention by some. The gorilla is a black ape confined in a unbreakable cage. I am sympathetic to the idea that it could be thought of as a metaphor for the institution of slavery. And now that it is pointed out to me, I see it. I support the removal of the gorilla on the grounds that it could offend members of our community. At no time did I ever think of it as anything other than King Kong.”

        This is the second link:

        “Community Park loses ape
        Gorilla found too offensive”
        By Patrick Sparks Feb 27, 2018

        The giant gorilla in the cage has been a staple sight in the Community Park playground for many years. Recent activity has added tire tracks around the cage, and subtracted the giant gorilla from the park; without any explanation, people were left wondering what had happened.

        According to City Manager Connie Standridge, the gorilla has been removed for relocation elsewhere. The reason for its removal was that certain members of the community believed the gorilla was offensive in some form, and requested its removal from the park.

        There are no plans to replace the gorilla with a different statue, and the cage is to be left behind as a climbing apparatus for kids to use. Neither the new location of the gorilla nor the identity of the offended party was disclosed at this time.

        Do you believe the gorilla was offensive? Should it stay where it was, or is it good for the community to remove it? The Daily Sun would like to receive your opinion on the matter.

        Wish you could have seen the photos and comments. LOL

        1. Thanks again, Angel.

          Both of those article hint at complaints being made. I’m going to try to find the article I read earlier. (neither of those were it)

        2. Strange….. The article I read was linked at WRH, and two pages back on the scroll it’s still there… BUT… it looks like the article I read this morning was replaced with one of the articles you pasted above.

          It was a local CBS station, and their story seems to have changed. (and it’s not the first time I’ve seen this happen)

          I’m going to look for a google link from earlier today, or yesterday.

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