Chair in tree: 'It has nothing to do with hanging anybody'

CAMAS, Wash. - A local couple hung a chair with the word 'NO-BAMA' written on it from a tree in what is being viewed by some as a racially charged message.

George and Kathryn Maxwell told The Columbian they were inspired by Clint Eastwood's famous Republican National Convention speech, in which he spoke to an empty chair meant to symbolize the president.

But the message is coming across as something different, especially in light of 'chair lynching' that has been reported in other parts of the United States.

We talked to Kathryn Maxwell on Thursday about the display. She said it has nothing to do with 'lynching' and that her husband simply put the chair in the tree after the first one they put out was stolen.

"It has nothing to do with hanging anybody - it's hanging the chair so people don't steal it," Maxwell said, later adding "a Texas guy hung up a chair and it was really neat. It attracted a lot of attention. And I showed it to George and he went 'I gotta do that.' "

"I see nothing wrong with it," she also said. "It's a freedom of speech thing."

"I think that people have the right to do what they want to do, free speech and all of that, but I think at the same time they have to be aware of the consequences of that and be able to take on the responsibility of free speech in terms of how other people respond to it," said Sirius Bonner, a diversity adviser for Clark College.

The Clark County Chapter of the GOP told The Columbian that it does not condone hanging chairs from trees in protest.