- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 1, 2018

The City of Corsicana, Texas, this week removed a popular gorilla statue from its cage in a community park playground after people complained it was racially insensitive.

A makeshift memorial cropped up Tuesday at the empty cage in Community Park, where “Dobby” the gorilla stood for the past 19 years. A Facebook page called “In Memory Of Dobby” reached more than 1,100 supporters, and a petition on Change.org calling for the statue to be returned fetched more than 2,300 signatures. A candlelight vigil took place Wednesday night and a protester sat inside the cage, vowing to remain until the statue was returned, a local CBS affiliate reported.

In response to the backlash, Corsicana city council member Jeff Smith announced on Facebook Wednesday that the city would return the gorilla to the park “as soon as weather permits.”

In an earlier post, he said the decision to remove the statue was “rushed into” and invited community members to express their opinions during a city council meeting on March 12.

Corsicana Mayor Don Denbow sent a letter Tuesday evening to the Corsicana Daily Sun, saying the gorilla was initially removed after “it was determined to be potentially racially insensitive.”

“This was brought to our attention by a few citizens,” the mayor said. “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.”

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