A McDonald's in Massachusetts has put out an apology after catching flak for gruesome Halloween decor that some say looked uncomfortably like a lynching. Today reports on customer Erik Pocock's visit to a North Andover restaurant on Oct. 22, where he spotted a set of seasonal stickers depicting jack-o'-lanterns, black bats, and spiders adhered to the front of the cash register counter. "I was like, 'Oh, that's cute,'" he tells WCVB. Then Pocock got a closer look, and what he saw repulsed him: a shadowy figure hanging from a tree branch. "My friends and I were completely shocked," Pocock says, per Today. "It's disgusting, insensitive and I can't believe someone thought this was a good idea." He notes the stickers were placed at kids' eye level, and that particular McDonald's is located near a high school.
Pocock adds to WCVB that while it looked "more like a lynching" than a regular hanging, "you could have taken it either way." Per Patch, he tweeted a video of the stickers directly at McDonald's (he has since made his account private), asking, "Can you explain this?" The franchise's owner, Chuck Lietz, tried to do just that, noting that the "inappropriate" decor was removed as soon as it got flagged. "We deeply regret that these decorations were on display," he says in a statement. WCVB showed the stickers online, noting customers "are split" on the offensiveness. "We live in a culture where people are actively looking for reasons to be offended," one person noted, with the opposite reaction from another: "Customers are split? Are you kidding me? The news should report this as offensive and racist. Instead this tweet makes it sound like there's two sides to the story. Do better." (Read more McDonald's stories.)