A Texas billboard which quickly went viral across the internet has reportedly been removed by the client who paid to have it put up in the first place. According to reports, the client cited the uproar caused on social media after the billboard was put up on Tuesday.
“Liberals,” the billboard said per a social media post by Kyle Mccallie and as Fox News reports. “Please continue on I-40 until you have left our GREAT STATE OF TEXAS.”
Check it out:
Billboard 6 miles east of Vega on I-40 east bound! I like it!
And, from Fox News:
A photo of the sign was posted to Facebook by Kyle Mccallie, of Fritch. He wrote the billboard was six miles east of Vega, a city roughly 35 miles west of Amarillo, on the eastbound side of the highway.
After the photo of the billboard was put on social media, it made headlines everywhere. This undoubtedly caused quite the stir and, as Breitbart reports, many of the responses fell along partisan lines.
Mccallie’s post garnered over 20,000 shares as of Thursday morning but was tragically met with a number of death threats, CBS News reports.
Per CBS News:
And as the number of shares increased, so too did the death threats. So much so, that the company that owns the billboard, Burkett Outdoor Advertising, is taking it down.
Mccallie meantime told CBS 11 News he has received at least ten threats from people saying they were going to show up at his house and “snap his neck.” “Lots of hate mail and death threats. But lots of ‘we love it’ also,” said Mccallie.
Mccallie posted one of the threats he allegedly received on his Facebook feed with the message “We’ve gotta hater on our hands!” The message from a person identified as James J Wallace appeared to be a clear threat telling Mccallie to “expect a visit” calling him a “small town country bumpkin” – as well as some other expletives that cannot be printed here. Mccallie responded, “Would you like to have a beer or something? I’m not sure what you’re getting at?”
“I don’t need a gun to snap your neck you little punk,” allegedly read another message sent to Mccallie.
Here’s more from Breitbart:
Randy Burkett, owner of the billboard and advertising company Burkett Outdoor Advertising, told Breitbart News on Wednesday that his client requested he remove the advertisement “once the sign appeared to be causing quite the controversy.”
The billboard had been installed around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning and had gained a lot of attention on social media since then, Patch.com reported.
“I believe in the First Amendment and one’s right to free speech,” Burkett said, adding that, due to company policy, he could not disclose the identity of the individual who purchased the billboard.
The owner of the billboard and advertising company said his client wished the sensation be taken down amid the publicity but said the billboard was effective in getting out his message.
“Your billboards work and this one has served its purpose,” the client reportedly said before asking for its removal. Burkett has reimbursed the initial client for the backlash he received.
As Breitbart reports, Burkett said he sent a crew to remove the billboard on Wednesday. He plans to replace the viral message with a “welcome sign” from another client.
Fox News adds, “The Amarillo Convention and Visitors Council has purchased ad space on the billboard and intends to put up a welcome sign.”
Ahead of the initial sign’s removal, Amarillo resident Roman Leal reportedly disagreed with the billboard’s contents and sought to erect a competing billboard with the message: “Texas is for everyone—not for bigotry.”
Leal has set up a GoFundMe page and has raised $2,495 at the time of publication, triumphing over his goal of $1,800.
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.