A statue outside a shopping mall in Maple Ridge, Canada, was daubed by vandals with homophobic, anti-Semitic and racist graphics, sparking outrage from officials.
On the SmartCentres along Haney Place, shoppers were stunned to find the mall’s statue of three penguins – its logo – gratified with a swastika and derogatory slang.
“An individual who is anti-Semitic, anti- LGBT+ and anti-minority, that doesn’t sound like anybody that is part of our community, part of Maple Ridge,” said Ahmed Yousef, Maple Ridge city councillor, to City News 1130.
“It’s highly uncharacteristic of our community, to display it so prominently, is something that was disturbing.”
Homophobia graffitied on statue dubbed ‘unacceptable’ by Canada officials.
The chorus of condemnation was joined by city mayor Mike Morden who, in a Facebook post, wrote: “The city is aware and has been actively working on catching criminal acts of graffiti around our community’s downtown core.
The city is aware and has been actively working on catching criminal acts of graffiti around our community’s downtown…
“As the public know, certainly our downtown regular visitors know as well, we along with many communities, have been plagued with racist and hateful words, and targeted comments towards the police.
“It is unacceptable and our expectation is those doing this face consequences.”
Morden added that councillors Ryan Svendsen and Chelsa Meadus, as well as members of the Downtown Business Improvement Association, have since cleared the graffiti themselves.
Maple Ridge city councillor Kiersten Duncan described how in his 10 years of living in Maple Ridge, a sleepy city in British Columbia, he has never seen this kind of vitriol.
“Any kind of hate speech is not acceptable in my community. This is not what residents of Maple Ridge stand for.”
“Maple Ridge is a wonderful community since my family and I have moved here.
“And we’ve seen not just our own experience but welcoming other newcomers to our community from within Canada and outside,” he added