Several businesses in Austin, Texas were vandalized with “Exclusively For White People” stickers, The Statesman newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The offensive stickers said that a “Maximum of 5 colored customers/colored BOH staff accepted,” which, according to the paper is a reference to “back of house” restaurant operations. Above a City of Austin logo was a notice saying that the stickers were “sponsored by the City of Austin Contemporary Partition and Restoration Program.”
However, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said the stickers were not authorized or in any way sponsored by the city, in a statement released Wednesday and obtained by the Statesman.
“This is an appalling and offensive display of ignorance in our city,” Adler said.
According to the paper, the city determined that the six businesses on which the stickers were found were not complicit in the creation or distribution of the stickers. And several of the stores denied involvement over social media, the Statesman reported.
Outrage erupted on social media after an image of the sticker was first posted to Facebook by a user named Brianna Smith who was reportedly walking by one of the targeted stores.
News of the stickers also reached state Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D) who took to Facebook to denounce the offensive decals, the paper reported.
“Some jokes are not funny,” Dukes wrote. “If this is a joke at all, it is tasteless. … I will be damned if this will occur in my House District … in this historical black community or any community.”
According to television station WGN, the east side of Austin has undergone a large demographic shift as gentrification changes the neighborhood. However, it is a historically minority community, as Dukes noted.