Town removes beloved park feature for racial insensitivity. After uproar, they’re putting it back.

Town removes beloved park feature for racial insensitivity. After uproar, they’re putting it back.
A North Texas town removed a 500-pound caged gorilla statue from its city park Monday after receiving complaints that it was racially insensitive. The gorilla statue, known as "Dobby," was one of several animal statues at the park. (Image source: KDFW video screenshot)

A North Texas town removed a 500-pound caged gorilla statue from its city park Monday after receiving complaints that it was racially insensitive. Now town officials are backtracking.

The gorilla is one of several animal statues at the park.

A Corsicana city council member announced on Facebook Wednesday that the gorilla would return to the park as soon as weather permits.

What’s the story?

Earlier this week, the Corsicana Mayor Don Denbow said the city had received about 45 complaints about the statue that has been a centerpiece at the Corsicana Community Park for nearly two decades.

“We can understand this, because we have an obligation to listen to all our citizens, to determine what is offensive and not, especially in public places,” Denbow told KDFW-TV.

So, Denbow, along with the city manager and a city council member, decided to have the statue removed.

It was picked up and hauled off Monday, and the city announced its removal in a Facebook post.

OK, why are they putting it back?

Well, the community went bananas.

“It’s like part of our childhood,” one man told KDFW. “We used to play here.”

The empty cage where the gorilla previously resided became a makeshift memorial on Wednesday where residents left balloons, flowers, stuffed toys, and signs that read “Park Monkey for City Mayor Corsicana Texas.”

One man even camped out inside the cage and said he would stay for as long as it takes to make the point that they want their gorilla back.

“We never knew that it would cause such a ruckus,” Denbow told KDFW.

And a Facebook page called “In Memory of Dobby” popped up after the gorilla was gone.

What else?

Many residents complained that there was no opportunity to vote on the gorilla’s removal.

“The gorilla has been here since I can remember,” resident Jenna Burkes said. “My kids know this as the Gorilla Park.

“I just think it’s sad that the gorilla is gone, and we didn’t have a say so,” Burkes said before the announcement that the gorilla would be returning.