West Hollywood is being plastered with a rainbow-colored version of the Gadsden flag with the hashtag #ShootBack in response to the Orlando nightclub terrorist attack that killed 49 members of the gay community. West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister said she was disturbed by the posters and fears they will advocate gun violence.
Capt. Holly Perez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department West Hollywood Station first noticed the signs on Wednesday and thought they were simply remainders from a recent gay pride parade. When she realized it was a call for the gay community to stand up for themselves and fight back against terrorist threats she released the following statement:
“I understand the sentiment behind them and 1st Amendment rights, but it’s a bad message, I hope it’s just people venting that they could do this, and I’m hoping their calmness will take over. It’s our job to keep you safe.”
Perez says that West Hollywood, which has a famously large lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population, has been extremely tense since the orlando shooting. Other governement officials have also voice concerns that the flags may inspire violence.
Oscar Delgado, West Hollywood’s director of public works, said city crews would be removing signs within the public right of way which is standard procedure for any signs posted in West Hollywood. He stated:
“We are looking for them, Ones that are on public property are going to be removed.”
Officials claim that they do not know who made the signs and will do their best to remove them from public spaces but will leave them posted on public property.