LAKEWOOD, Ohio -- The organizer of a popular weekend pet parade is apologizing after one of the participants wore an offensive costume. Saturday’s Spooky Pooch Parade drew hundreds of pets and their owners, who marched down Detroit Avenue.
The event is sponsored by LakewoodAlive, a non-profit community development organization whose mission is to foster and sustain vibrant neighborhoods.
One of the participants included a man dressed in blackface, carrying a box, made to look like a television screen that said “Breaking News Tiger’s Back!” He was wearing a red golf shirt and a black and white Nike ball cap.
Some Facebook users expressed outrage at the costume and circulated a photo. A spectator, who shared the photo with FOX 8, included a statement that read…”I have lived in Lakewood for 15 years. What I saw at the parade opened my eyes to how little progress has been made. Lakewood still has a ways to go before we can be considered as a diverse and open community for minority groups.”
Executive director Ian Andrews issued a statement that reads:
"At the heart of Lakewood’s vibrancy is inclusiveness and diversity.
An individual marched in Saturday’s Spooky Pooch Parade with his family in a costume that is not consistent with our values as an inclusive organization and community. We apologize for not addressing the issue on the spot.
Effective immediately, at all LakewoodAlive events, LakewoodAlive shall reserve the right to refuse individuals the ability to participate in events – either as participants or vendors – as LakewoodAlive board and staff may deem. We will attempt to exercise good judgment moving forward ensuring that we celebrate our inclusive community."