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Austin Man Hangs Empty Chair From Tree Symbolizing President Obama

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:15 PM CDT

A Northwest Austin homeowner, who hung a chair from a tree meant to symbolize President Obama, has taken it down.

The political blog burntorangereport.com first talked about the display in the Spicewood Estates area Wednesday night.

The fold-up chair, with an American flag attached to it, was hung from a tree in front of Bud Johnson’s home and some neighbors complained that it was racist.

KEYE TV News wanted to find out from Johnson about the chair and why he put it up. KEYE TV reporter Lydia Pantazes and photojournalist Mario Pena went to his house Thursday morning. As they arrived, Johnson was taking down the chair and he advised Pantazes and Pena “to get the hell away.”

When Pantazes asked him why he hung the chair from the tree, he responded “Haven’t you heard of the Clint Eastwood thing with the empty chair?”

Johnson also said he’s not a racist and that he doesn’t dislike any race. In addition, he said the chair was not being “lynched”, and when Pantazes asked why he had it hanging from the tree, he said the tree was "the only place I had to put the damn thing.” Johnson then placed the chair on his lawn a few feet away from the tree.

Pantazes talked to a neighbor who told her that Johnson is an overall “good neighbor and a nice guy. He’s just a really conservative Republican.” The neighbor, who did not want to be identified, thought the issue was taken out of context.

Robert Stephenson, who also lives in the area, said there’s “no way you can take that the wrong way." He called the display was "pretty racist."

“I’m glad he took it down. I just hope he don’t put it back up,” Stephenson said.

To watch the entire Clint Eastwood RNC speech, go to http://www.weareaustin.com/news/features/raw-news/stories/vid_35.shtml?wap=0&.

By Lydia PantazesAustin Man Hangs Empty Chair From Tree Symbolizing President Obama


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