The wife of a Florida man who proudly hung a KKK flag, noose, and "Members Wanted" sign outside his mobile home has taken the paraphernalia down and apologized to her Boca Raton community on behalf of her husband.
Neighbors and civil rights groups had previously urged the man, who identified himself to reporters only as "Mr. K. Hayes," to remove the symbol of hatred, but he cited his right to free speech and refused.
"I'm not sending any message," Hayes told CBS Miami.
"The same thing when the Puerto Rican flies his flag. He's proud of his heritage. I'm proud of mine."
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Neighbors were offended by the display and even feared for their safety.
"I’m worried," Margaret Martin, an African-American woman who lives across the street from Hayes, told CBS Miami. "Is he gonna burn a cross on my yard? You gotta be sick to do something like that. Or you want attention."
Members of the Anti-Defamation League of South Florida also publicly disagreed with Hayes' exhibition.
"What he's displaying is hate and there's no comparison between the two," Yael Hershfield, who is based in the Boca Raton office of the ADL, told NBC affiliate WPTV.com
Hayes' wife Marla Curley finally got fed up and took action Wednesday night.
"I apologize for my husband putting that up," Curley told WPTV.com. "That was a bad joke."
According to Hayes' business cards, he works as a recruiter for the Knights Party of the Ku Klux Klan. He changed his tune after his wife took the KKK flag down, saying he plans to put up an American flag in its place.
"It's my patriotic duty," he told WPTV.com.
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