‘USED-MEXICANS’ Sign Removed from I-35 at FM 306 After Community Outrage
A controversial billboard with the words “USED-MEXICAN .ORG.COM.INFO” emblazoned in yellow across the top was removed today by Turner Outdoor Advertising after pushback from the community.
The sign was located on the northbound side of I-35 in the vicinity of FM 306 near Creekside shopping development.
However, the website referenced on the sign remains live.
In a statement posted to Facebook at 5 p.m., New Braunfels City Manager Robert Camareno denounced the billboard as not being representative of New Braunfels’ values.
“Over the weekend and throughout Monday, we received several complaints regarding an offensive billboard on IH 35,” he said. “The billboard is not located within the New Braunfels city limits or within the extra territorial jurisdiction of the City of New Braunfels. However, we do acknowledge that the billboard is offensive and not representative of our community’s values. We worked to locate the owner of the billboard and contacted them. They were unaware of the billboard and said it had not been approved. Once they were notified of its offensive messaging, they worked swiftly to address the issue. As of Monday afternoon, the billboard has been removed.”
David Cruz, a Texas native who is communications director with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), said Turner Advertising’s Mike Turner will donate the space to LULAC, which will use it to craft new messaging for the thousands of drivers who speed past the area daily.
LULAC is the oldest and largest non-partisan Hispanic civil rights group in the United States.
In a letter emailed to New Braunfels Mayor Rusty Brockman, Camareno, and New Braunfels city council members at 3:20 p.m. this afternoon, Cruz thanked the City of New Braunfels for its help in resolving the issue.
“New Braunfels, Texas is one of the country’s most-admired cities experiencing growth and progress because of its embracing spirit,” he said. “You exemplify the very spirit of Texas where people can earn respect through their actions and values of hard work, family and love of country. This is the very way LULAC members conduct themselves as an organization of volunteers willing to work with everyone irrespective of background, religion or party affiliation.”
Cruz said LULAC considers the billboard controversy a non-issue and remains focused on broader issues like the economy and COVID-19 epidemic.
He said there are smarter ways to carry out a dialog than posting something on a sign that can be misunderstood at a three-second glance.
Maria Saenz-Rodriguez, secretary for LULAC Council 4217 (New Braunfels), said the word “used” is deeply offensive to Mexican Americans.
“It’s offensive in the sense that it means discardable, used, throwaway,” she said. “It’s something that is no longer of any use to anyone. That’s what caught our attention, was the word ‘used.’
“With what’s going on right now, we don’t need any more statements like that or things out there like that to divide the country, divide the people and to create havoc.”
Charles Abernathy, who paid to install the sign, told MyCanyonLake.com that he is unaffiliated with any organization and believes that Mexicans are being used by the Democratic party to advance its own agenda. He also was behind 2012’s MurderedMexicans.org, which claimed that then-President Barack Obama’s alleged gun sales to Mexican drug cartels were getting Mexican nationals killed.
He said he chose the New Braunfels-area location for his sign because it was more affordable than other spots, and also is using banners on trucks to spread the USED-MEXICANS message.
Abernathy said he works in construction, building high-rises, and also spent time in the oilfields. In a post to mymilitia.com, Abernathy took credit for posting the billboard:
“We just put up a 48’X12′ billboard in New Braunfels, Texas. Used-Mexicans.org. Anyone who wants to further piss of the liberal Antifa shytbags is welcome to run security. Those little Bass Turds might want to cone by and damage personal property.”