NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) – Neighbors couldn’t believe what they saw.
People stopped and stared as they walked past the New Port Richey home.
Drivers slowed with windows rolled down, mouths agape. Some snapped photos. Others shook their heads. Each person had seemingly the same facial expression – a mixture of disbelief and disgust.
Those who saw it describe the Halloween decorations as pure hate.
The New Port Richey home, located in a subdivision near Decubelis and Ridge Road, has a display is causing controversy and outrage.
In the yard – skeleton after skeleton, saluting Hitler with concentration camp identification numbers on their arms and a Star of David on their chests.
Then there was the sign that read, “Arbeit Macht Frei,” which translated in German means, “Work sets you free.”
It is a slogan known for being on display at the entrance of Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps.
Neighbors call the decorations, displayed by a local realtor at her home, evil.
Mitchell Katz was stunned when he saw the decorations on the eve of Halloween. “It sickens me,” he told WFLA. His wife, Bonnie, nodded in agreement. “it sickens me that we can have this, you know, with what happened in Pittsburgh,” said Bonnie.
Mitchell explained how decorations like this are hurtful. “I’m Jewish, this says she hates Jews and we should die.”
Another neighbor had tears in her eyes when she drove past the home. “It sickens me, it sickens me. I couldn’t fall asleep the first night I found out about it,” said Iris Hookway.
So, what does the homeowner, Susan Lamerton, have to say about her Halloween decorations causing controversy in her New Port Richey neighborhood?
We had a chance to ask her, and she told us it all began with her HOA. She claims she’s been battling them over landscaping for months.
We asked her – why would put this in front of your home?
“Because they’re trying to take my house,” she yelled. “Don’t you understand?”
She told us she’s received death threats over her display, but refuses to remove it.
She says she stands firm in her decision to keep them right where they are.
She also told WFLA that she’s Jewish, and this is her right to free speech, her way of protesting the HOA.
“I have freedom of speech, they have freedom of speech,” she said, glancing across the street as passersby stared in shock. “They need to leave my property.”
In the end, law enforcement says what Lamerton is doing is legal and is considered protected speech.
As for the homeowner herself, she has this message for people who don’t like the decorations – they can leave, the decorations will stay.