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PICAYUNE, Miss. - A Mississippi man found himself banned from a Picayune bar after he showed up to a Halloween costume party Saturday dressed as a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
The unidentified man walked into Mutt & BC’s Bar and Grill, where a costume contest was taking place, wearing a white robe and pointed hood reminiscent of the outfit worn by Klan members. He carried a Mississippi state flag, which is the only state flag in the United States to still utilize the Confederate battle flag in its design.
Chance Delaney, who posted a photo of the man’s costume on Facebook, told the Jackson Clarion Ledger that he received the image from a friend who asked to remain anonymous.
“This was worn for a costume contest at a bar in Picayune, Ms., and they say racism is dead,” Delaney wrote in a post. “DISGUSTING.”
Bryan Carroll, co-owner of Mutt & BC’s, agreed. He told the Clarion Ledger he made the man leave and barred him from returning to the establishment.
“We do not tolerate or condone racism at any level of our business, customers or staff,” Carroll told the newspaper. “Everyone is welcome, and we do have all walks of life and all races that patronize our place.”
Carroll said several black patrons were in the bar when the man, who was not a regular customer, came in with his “garbage” costume, the newspaper said.
The man’s actions came hours after a gunman walked into a synagogue in Pittsburgh and opened fire, killing 11 congregants who had gathered to worship on Shabbat, which is the Jewish Sabbath. Six others were injured, including four police officers responding to the shooting.
The alleged gunman, Robert Bowers, 46, shouted that “all Jews must die” as he opened fire, police officials said.
Picayune Mayor Ed Pinero praised how Carroll handled the bar patron’s costume choice, which he described as unacceptable.
“The city of Picayune does not support any type of racist or derogatory actions, period, whether it’s true to life or a costume party,” Pinero told the Clarion Ledger.
Mississippi is not the only state where Halloween costumes have sparked outrage in recent weeks. A Kentucky man last week found himself defending -- and then apologizing for -- his choice to dress his 5-year-old son as Adolph Hitler.
Bryant Goldbach, of Owensboro, went to a city trick-or-treating event dressed as a Nazi officer, while his son wore a suit, a swastika armband and a Hitler mustache. Goldbach initially defended his choice by saying the costumes were historical, but later backed down.
“I think it was in bad taste for me to let my child to wear that, probably for me to wear that. It didn't occur to me,” Goldbach told WEHT. “I thought it was a bad decision on my part.”
The Anti-Defamation League reported in February that anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. rose almost 60 percent in 2017, the larges single-year jump on record and the second-highest number of incidents since the ADL began tracking data in the 1970s. There were 1,986 incidents reported across the country, occurring in all 50 states for the first time in at least 10 years, the organization reported.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, estimates that there are between 5,000 and 8,000 Klan members in the U.S. as of last year.