- A mannequin hanging from a home in West Hollywood has been outfitted to look like Governor Sarah Palin.
- Also displayed at the West Hollywood home was a mannequin of John McCain emerging from flames.
- Creator of the display, Chad Michael Morrisette, says his subjects are fair game during the Halloween season.
| A mannequin hanging from a home in West Hollywood has been outfitted to look like Governor Sarah Palin. |
| Also displayed at the West Hollywood home was a mannequin of John McCain emerging from flames. |
The mannequin is dressed in brunet wig, glasses and a red business suit. Another mannequin dressed as John McCain emerges from a flaming chimney.
Chad Michael Morisette, who lives in the house, told CBS 2 News that drivers and bus passengers have been stopping to snap pictures of the macabre scene.
Morisette says the effigy would be out of bounds at any other time of year, but it's within the spirit of Halloween.
He says "it should be seen as art, and as within the month of October. It's Halloween, it's time to be scary it's time to be spooky."
(© 2008 The Associated Press)
Sarah Palin effigy has been taken down
Homeowner removes the hanging mannequin after meeting with West Hollywood's mayor.
Chad Michael Morrisette, a professional window display designer who set up the life-size mannequin of Palin, said Wednesday evening that he had met with West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang and decided it was best to remove the decoration.
"There was a huge mob scene," Morrisette said of the onlookers -- and protesters -- the display attracted. "The whole thing became a life of its own."
Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, said that Morrisette and his partner invited Prang into their home for a "heart-to-heart" about the display after a man parked in front of their home, his black truck bearing a male dummy wearing a noose and T-shirt that read, "Chad, how does it feel?"
"They told us, 'We respect you as artists, we're just concerned about the effect on the community,' " Morrisette said. "I don't resent them. I'm not angry at them. I respect their rights."
Also Wednesday, a city official delivered to Morrisette an inch-thick collection of e-mails about the effigy from hundreds of people. Jake Stevens, an aide to the mayor, said the city assigned extra staffers to answer phone calls from around the country.
Morrisette and his partner, Mito Aviles, said they set up the display three weeks ago. They said they decided to insert a little politics into their Halloween decorating because the holiday occurs days before the presidential election.
But a news report this week sparked a national uproar, drawing the attention of the Secret Service; upsetting politicians, including one local official who called for a hate crime investigation; and prompting MSNBC host Keith Olbermann on Monday to dub Morrisette "today's worst person in the world."
The Palin campaign declined to comment on the controversy.
The mannequin, outfitted with beehive wig, glasses and a red coat dress -- appeared to violate no law, said officials of the Secret Service, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the West Hollywood city code enforcement division.
Peter Scheer, executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition and a free-speech expert, said the Palin display would fall under protected speech, as long as it was not made with the intent of inciting violence.
But Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization of Women, said she believed the Palin display was particularly unacceptable because of its depiction of violence.
"It is a shock to the senses for those of us who work to stop violence against women to see such a public depiction of violence," she said. "This has no place in a civilized dialogue. If you oppose Sarah Palin's policies, say why you oppose them."
Abdulrahim and Blankstein are Times staff writers.