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GOP fair display stirs controversy

A fundraiser in the GOP booth displaying a wall is being called racist by some folks. (Mummolo/KTUL)

Towering over the fairgrounds like the Golden Driller is the controversy that's brewing in the GOP booth, and a fundraiser for the organization called "Help Build the Wall."

"They said they'd gotten complaints that it was offensive," said Republican David Arnett.

"This stuff is offensive in nature," said social activist Marq Lewis. He says the wall has a not-so-subtle subtext.

"The undertone is just racism, and we have a lot of Mexican Americans who are here; we have a lot of people who are from the Dream Act. We have a lot of people where who are contributing to an economy of Tulsa, that's offensive," said Lewis.

Apparently, enough people complained that fairground officials paid the booth a visit.

"A crew from the fairgrounds came to us late last night at about 8:30 and demanded the wall be removed," said Arnett.

So, they took it down, and then after talking with management, put it back up Tuesday.

"The wall has made it back up, and let me tell you what, this was actually a point of joy," said Arnett.

"I think it's vile and offensive, and we hope that the Tulsa State Fair will say to them, 'Listen, you know you are offending people,'" said Lewis.

"I have a right to speak and to think freely; no one has a right not to be offended," said Arnett.

And to up the ante Tuesday, the booth started selling snowflakes for five bucks.

"A snowflake may be a social justice warrior that is so intemperate and transient that they melt at any degree of merit or fact-based discussion," said Arnett.

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"They can tout freedom of speech all they want to, but freedom of speech doesn't have to be vile and offensive," said Lewis.

The Tulsa fairgrounds released the following statement about the controversy:

The Tulsa State Fair is committed to providing a safe and family friendly environment for all attendees. All vendors must follow the terms of their Lease Agreement, which includes rules outlined in the Vendor Rules & Regulation Handbook. At this time, we have asked a few vendors to adjust their displays for this reason. There are a couple of incidents each year when booths accidentally or intentionally violate the Lease Agreement or the rules in the Vendor Rules & Regulation Handbook.
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