Pro-Confederacy billboard in Kemp sparks debate about vulgarity, free speech

A billboard with Confederate symbols is raising the question of basic decency in Kaufman County while taking aim at the city of Dallas.

The billboard is on Highway 175 in the town of Kemp, about 45 miles southeast of Dallas. The sign shows a cartoon character with a Confederate flag urinating on the Dallas skyline and says “I support Confederate heritage.”

The Dallas City Council voted last month to remove another Confederate monument in Pioneer Park in downtown.

Kemp city officials say they don’t know who put up the message. FOX 4’s attempts to contact the billboard owner have gone unanswered, but the city wants it to come down as soon as possible.

The billboard is stopping people in their tracks in the small, usually quiet town.

“There’s a guy peeing on Dallas,” said Dallas resident Javier Reyes. “It’s just wrong. It’s childish.”

The message is an apparent protest of the Dallas City Council’s decision to remove Confederate monuments in the city.

“It’s a vulgar sign, and it faces a daycare,” said Kemp Mayor Laura Peace. “We can debate the politics involved, but that’s not an appropriate place for that type of sign. It’s not good for our community.”

Peace says she and city council members have been flooded with emails and texts from residents.

“The general consensus is very clear: the community does not support that sign,” she said. “They don’t want people to have the impression that that is our value here.”

It also raises the question about when an expression of free speech crosses the line of basic decency.

“Free speech is free speech. He has the right to say it,” said Jimmy Nelson, who was driving through Kemp. “But we also have the right to protest against it.”

Now, the city is trying to get it removed.

“I think they should leave the monuments alone because they’re history,” Nelson said. “But to depict it in that manner, I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

“It’s 2019, and we’re actually trying to get Confederate things to come down to show that we are one,” said Kemp resident Demetrices Freeman. “And to have it put up in our city... It’s a white boy pi***ng on Dallas. It says a lot with the Confederate flag. It’s just disrespectful. It’s hurtful.”

The city has contacted their attorney to see if anything can be done.