Monkey Statue Reappears, Disappears
Report says Cedar Grove lawn statue with anti-Obama t-shirt, black ski mask was being trashed by owner.
The Cedar Grove monkey statue dressed like President Barack Obama is no more.
Neighbors in Cedar Grove said they saw the statue, which people said had racial implications, outside Don-Ric Self Storage on Little Falls Road on Saturday.
While no one knows what happened to the statue, it was gone on Monday.
The statue came to the public’s attention Aug. 7 after residents saw it while driving down Little Falls Road, a road used as a cut-through to Route 3.
Business owner Rick Bond, told the Verona-Cedar Grove Times Thursday the statue was put out for trash collection on Saturday.
However, the report says, garbage is only collected on that portion of Little Falls Road on Tuesday and Friday. Town ordinances say residences and businesses are not permitted to place garbage out until sundown on the day prior to pickup.
Bond, a former Cedar Grove council member and police officer, was unavailable for comment Thursday.
On Saturday, the monkey statue was seen seated in a red chair with the same OMG – Obama Must Go t-shirt and a black ski mask on the face of the statue.
After residents complained about the racial implications of the statue earlier this month, Bond removed it from the lawn of his business. He said he meant nothing racial.
“I absolutely never thought of it as racial,” Bond said at the time. “It’s ridiculous.”
When asked to comment on the statue’s racial implications, Bond told Patch on Aug. 9, “The less I say, the quicker this will go away.”
He refused to comment further and drove away.
At the time, Bond claimed the statue was put up to scare area geese.
The statue was in front of Bond’s business for at least a few days when it was first discovered on Aug. 7.
Bond would not say who dressed the statue in that t-shirt at the time, but added it was previously dressed in a Mets jersey.
Bond’s explanation at the time didn’t sit right with some critics.
Duncan Francis, a former Cedar Grove resident who grew up in the area, said Aug. 9 he was very angry about the monkey statue.
“I’m outraged as a citizen and want to hold whoever is responsible for this racist act,” Francis said.
When asked on Aug. 9 about the statue, Cedar Grove Township Manager called the display “appalling.”
Thomas Reynolds, the president of the Montclair chapter of the NAACP said Aug. 8 the incident “smells like racism.”
“It’s incredible to think someone would’ve put up a statue of a monkey with a white man in the White House,” he said, “and I hope the person would take a second look at the messages he’s putting out.”
Reynolds added the next day, “Anyone who doesn’t realize what that (monkey statue) means isn’t just insensitive,” especially when they don’t realize how it can be taken as racial.
Reynolds said Bonds needs to study American history to understand why African Americans consider this wrong.
There’s a difference in putting up a statue to chase away birds, Reynolds said, and doing something anti-Obama.