Victor Chavarria, a piñata maker, hung freshly painted paper-mache black figures out to dry on his porch. The reaction sent a wave of horror across social media. (Image source: Video screenshot)
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A Minnesota man apologized after a photo of several black figures hanging on his porch set off a firestorm on the internet.
A Facebook photo showed three piñatas of black females dressed in white and hanging by cords on Victor Chavarria's front porch.
Chavarria, who operates Happy Kids Piñatas business from his home in north Minneapolis, hung the freshly painted paper-mache figures out to dry on the porch over the weekend without realizing how passers-by might perceive them.
"I deeply apologize. Effectively immediately, I changed my processes. I wouldn't do anything to offend anybody, they gave me my feedback, and of course, I listen," Chavarria told Minnesota Public Radio News during an interview Monday. "I'm here to serve the community, not the opposite, and I am deeply sorry."
The piñatas were part of a multiracial wedding order he'd received, which also included Mexican and white figures.
The photo drew threats to Chavarria, his family, and his home, so he called the police, explained what happened, and asked for extra patrols.
Chavarria announced that he has changed his practices and posted an apology on Facebook.
Did he finish the wedding order?
The couple canceled the custom piñata order that included a black groom, a Latina bride, and white, Latina, and black bridesmaids.
Chavarria, a Mexican immigrant, and his wife, who teaches school, have lived in Minneapolis for three years.
"We love north Minneapolis," Chavarria said. "We've been here for three years and people are kind to us and we try to be kind to them."
Chavarria started his piñata-making business in 2015, which he hopes to expand.
"This is the American dream, right? Following what you're good at and trying to provide value to the community, creating things they like," he said.
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