FORWARD TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Is it a Halloween decoration? Or is it a symbol of racism?
A woman from West Mifflin stormed out of a bar in Forward Township on Wednesday night, claiming to be offended by a display that the owner says was meant as a Halloween decoration.
Jasmine Mull says when she went into the Kickstand Bar and Restaurant, she saw a display that included a dark-faced mask hanging from a wall with a noose tied around its neck.
“I don’t think anybody should accept that symbol, white, black, Chinese, African, Asian,” said Mull. “I don’t accept it. I don’t think anybody should accept it.”
Jasmine, who is bi-racial, was so upset she stormed out of the bar and posted pictures of the mask on Facebook. She goes by Bella BaeBee on social media and she got a big response.
Many reacted the way she did.
“To me, it symbolizes discrimination, hatred, poor choice of display for business,” said Mull.
Bar owner Skip Riggle is angry about the attention it’s gotten him.
“That’s a devil. It’s a devil mask,” said Riggle. “We hung it up with our Halloween decorations, and we took them down.”
He denies ever being racist.
KDKA’s Paul Martino: “Do you get that the noose is symbolic?”
Riggle: “It came with the noose from Party City.”
Martino: “But could you see where it could be offensive?”
Riggle: “It could be, but it’s the devil. It’s not a black guy, it’s the devil.”
Riggle says people of all races frequent his bar without a problem. Even so, Jasmine wants an apology.
“I would like them to take it down. I would like an apology,” she said. “Honestly, I would just like their input on it. Why do they have it there?”
Riggle says he’s contacted his attorney, and he may consider a defamation suit against his accuser.
“It’s red,” Riggle. “It was bought as a Halloween decoration, that’s all it is.”