LAS VEGAS – A model train display has been removed from a Las Vegas mall after complaints it was racist.
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Several groups of protesters voiced their complaints about the exhibit, which was at the Galleria at Sunset Mall from May 30 until it was taken down on July 5, KLAS reported.
The exhibit, which was the work of the Las Vegas Garden Railway Society, featured two trains on tracks circling stages, as shown in a YouTube video posted July 2.
A specific part of the display sparked controversy, with the National Action Network stating: “Members of the community are outraged that a racist train display showing a black man set to be hanged was condoned and permitted at the mall for hundreds of children, families and community members to see,” KLAS reported.
A close-up of the controversial part of the display was visible in a Tweeter from Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, who shared the image with the following message: “Racism has no place here in Nevada. This is completely unacceptable and our community deserves answers.
Las Vegas Garden Railway Society president Sue Jerrems apologized for the exposure, saying she never meant to offend anyone.
“We never considered him a black man before,” Jerrems told the Las Vegas Sun. “It was just part of a border scene. It had no racist implications. Once someone pointed out the implications, we removed it. We apologized.
“I am saddened that we are here again protesting things that we thought were over – a lynching demonstration,” Bishop Bill McDonnell of Wealthy Place Church told KSNV.
The National Action Network in Las Vegas called for a public apology and asked the railroad to undergo cultural sensitivity training, KLAS reported.
Jerrems told KSNV that she felt diversity training would not be necessary and told the station that its members “meant no harm”.
Brookfield Properties, which owns the mall, apologized and said that while the mall approved the display of the train, it was unaware of the details of the display, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
“We are so sorry,” Lindsay Kahn, director of public relations for Brookfield Properties, told the Las Vegas Sun. “We want to apologize to anyone who was offended by this, and everyone should be offended. … We are horrified and we truly apologize.
Jerrems told the Las Vegas Sun that the same train display was installed at the mall several years ago and there was no negative feedback at the time.
Kahn told KLAS that although the Las Vegas Garden Railway Society cooperated in removing the display, the mall would not work with them in the future.
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