Billboard artist gets hate mail
The controversial billboard in town that depicts President Barack Obama as a terrorist, a gangster, a Mexican bandit and a gay man isn’t about hate, being a racist or homophobia, its creator says.
But some of the e-mails and telephone calls Loma cartoonist Paul Snover has received since erecting it this week on the Interstate 70 Business Loop near 28 1/2 Road have been “very hateful,” Snover said.
In one e-mail Snover forwarded to The Daily Sentinel, an anonymous writer says: “Good luck, man, with getting your head outa yer (sic) ass. Bigotry, hate, ignorance on your scale are the true enemies of America. I earnestly hope you all die and go to hell.”
Another compares the work, which Snover said was commissioned by an anonymous patron, to propaganda common in Nazi Germany during the 1930s and 1940s.
“Congratulations on showing the nation what a hateful, ignorant bigot you are with your billboard in Grand Junction,” another anonymous e-mailer tells Snover. “Coming on the heels of several suicides of teenagers who were bullied for either being gay or merely labeled gay by their peers who perceived them as different, you must be so very proud to keep propagating the hate and intolerance. I guess you can’t get much deeper than the bottom of a septic tank.”
Snover said the billboard is intended to be more like an editorial cartoon than anything else.
In it, the person who paid for it hoped to highlight elements of the president’s agenda, and everything in it is intended to be symbolic and shouldn’t be taken literally, he said.
“It’s not that Obama is a terrorist or a gangster, it’s that mentality that seems to come across from him and his administration,” said Snover, who said more than half of the comments he has received have been positive. “The Mexican drug smuggler, it’s the border issue in Arizona and him not willing to take it on and handle the situation. And with the gay problem, it’s the social justice issues and trying to manipulate things with that.”
Snover said he’s not ready to reveal the identity of his client.
Regardless of what message the billboard projects to people who see it, it’s getting heard not only around the state, but nationwide and across the globe. It’s been highlighted in the Washington Post, National Public Radio, the National Review, The Drudge Report and even in Europe when the story was picked up by the global wire service, Agence France-Presse.
As a result, Snover said he hopes to take the billboard on the road, turning it into a moveable sign that can be displayed in other cities around the nation.
“I’ve had people call who have wanted to donate to keep it up longer,” Snover said.
The billboard likely will remain in place until after the Nov. 2 election, he said.
“With that billboard, there’s another good two years of life in it.”