A billboard asking liberals to keep driving until they leave Texas was taken down Wednesday after the client who paid for it requested its removal due to the uproar it caused on social and traditional media, according to the billboard’s owner.
Randy Burkett, owner of the billboard and advertising company Burkett Outdoor Advertising, told Breitbart News on Wednesday that his client requested he remove the advertisement “once the sign appeared to be causing quite the controversy.”
The billboard had been installed around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning and had gained a lot of attention on social media since then, Patch.com reported.
“Liberals,” the sign read, according to the photo posted by Facebook user Kyle Mccallie, 25, of Fritch. “Please continue on I-40 until you have left our GREAT STATE OF TEXAS.”
The photo of the billboard went viral, gaining so much attention, the post had been shared on Facebook more than 20,000 times as of Thursday morning. Many reacted to the billboard’s message along partisan lines, and the interest in the sign caused the Burkett Outdoor Advertising website to crash Wednesday morning.
Roman Leal, an Amarillo resident who disagreed with the billboard’s tongue-in-cheek message, set up a GoFundMe page Wednesday to raise money for a competing billboard with the message “Texas is for everyone—not for bigotry.” As of Thursday morning, Leal’s page raised $2,495.
“I believe in the First Amendment and one’s right to free speech,” Burkett said, adding that, due to company policy, he could not disclose the identity of the individual who purchased the billboard. But Burkett said his client told him that although the message had only been up for a short time, it “served its purpose.”
“Your billboards work and this one has served its purpose,” the client reportedly told Burkett before asking for its removal.
Burkett said he dispatched a crew on Wednesday to remove the billboard and planned to replace it with an advertisement from another client. He also said he agreed to reimburse the former client for his trouble.
Dan Quandt, who represents the Amarillo Convention and Visitors Council, told MyHighPlains.com his organization would be the new client occupying the now-vacant billboard space. Quandt said the organization plans to put up a welcome sign.