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An Obama-esque mannequin, made by a California company called Zombie Industries, was taken off display at a sales booth during the National Rifle Association's convention in Houston over the weekend, reportedly at the request of the NRA.
The mannequins' likeness to Obama went unmentioned during the segments of the Discovery Channel programs "Sons of Guns" and "American Guns" in which they were used.
"Sons of Guns," a reality-show starring a custom gun-making company in Louisiana called Red Jacket Firearms, featured Zombie Industries mannequins in its season three finale, which originally aired on April 18, 2012. During the episode, Max Brooks, the author of "The Zombie Survival Guide," asked Red Jacket Firearms to build the "ultimate" zombie gun. At the end of the episode, the guns were tested on scores of Zombie Industries mannequins, including numerous "Rocky" and "Bill" models. The Rocky model, which is green and "bleeds" when shot, was the kind taken down at the NRA convention. The Bill model, which is purple and "wounds" bright orange when shot, appears to use the same physical design as the Rocky, with different coloring.
Zombie Industries currently offers a special deluxe "Sons of Guns Apocalypse Package!!!" on its website. Priced at $15,999.95, the package includes 250 zombie targets, including 100 Bills and 25 Rockys, along with 250 "ZomBOOM! Exploding Rifle Targets." (Residents of California, Maryland, New York, and Hawaii take note: Zombie Industries no longer sells, advertises, or markets ZomBOOM! to customers in these state, due to "possible legality issues.")
"Want to be a famous Zombie Slayer and annihilate a Zombie horde just like Red Jacket Firearms did on their hit TV show 'Sons of Guns'?" Zombie Industries asks on the "Sons of Guns Apocalypse Package!!!" product page. "Want no more, ere's (sic) your chance to be a superstar! With our new SOG 'Apocalypse' package, as featured on the the season finale of Season 3, you'll have everything you need to recreate your very own massive Zombie Outbreak... just like on the TV show."
A second Discovery Channel show, "American Guns," about a family of gun makers, featured what appeared to be the mannequins during a segment called "Zombie Takedown." It is unclear when the segment aired, but video of it is available on the Discovery Channel's website (embed below). Numerous Rocky mannequins are shot at, blown up, and even stabbed.
"American Guns" ran for two seasons, but was cancelled in December, just days after the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. "Sons of Guns," meanwhile, was just picked up for a fourth season in March. New episodes air on Friday nights, and a recent press release put out by the Discovery Channel touted the show as the top ranked cable program among "persons and men" ages 25 to 54.
The Discovery Channel did not immediately respond to questions sent by TPM. A woman who answered the phone Monday morning at Zombie Industries said no one was available to answer questions and to try back later.
On its product page for the Rocky mannequins, Zombie Industries declares that "any resemblance to actual persons" is "entirely" coincidental. But when a Buzzfeed reporter asked a Zombie Industries booth worker at the NRA convention about the likeness, the worker replied, "Let's just say I gave my Republican father one for Christmas."
The "American Guns" segment: