POLITICS
12/27/2012 09:14 pm ET Updated Dec 28, 2012

Danny Hafley, Kentucky Man, Defends Watermelon-Eating Obama Display: He 'Might Get Hungry'

Danny Hafley of Casey County, Ky. said this week that people are reading the mannequin in his front yard depicting President Barack Obama eating a watermelon completely wrong.

"The way I look at it, it's freedom of speech," Hafley told Lex 18 in a recent interview, going on to state that he had included the watermelon not in attempt to play to any racist stereotypes, but because the statue "might get hungry standing out here."

According to Hafley, the display is "popular" and a frequent draw for people passing by to stop and take pictures.

(Watch a video report from Lex 18 reporter Adam Yosim)

Watermelon imagery has been utilized in anti-Obama efforts in the past, usually by those claiming there is no racist sentiment behind the choice.

In 2009, a mayor of Los Alamitos, Calif. resigned his post after sending an e-mail showing watermelons in front of the White House, alongside the text "No Easter egg hunt this year." He maintained that he wasn't aware of the racial stereotype that African Americans like watermelon.

And earlier this year, a resident of Santa Clara, Calif. included a watermelon in his anti-Obama display that also featured an empty chair -- a reference to Hollywood star Clint Eastwood's bizarre Republican National Convention speech -- a noose, and a sign telling the president to "go back to Kenya you idiot." The owner of that setup declined to comment at the time.

Click over to Lex 18 for more on Hafley's display.

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