Mural of Gov. LePage in KKK garb sparks debate in Portland

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A mural depicting Maine Gov. Paul LePage in full Ku Klux Klan regalia sparked a heated debate in Portland regarding the boundaries of free speech.

The street art was painted on a wall belonging to the East End Wastewater Treatment Facility sometime within the past week.

Next to the caricature of LePage read the words “racist,” “homophobe,” “moron,” and finally “governor” — which had a red line painted through it.

Mayor Ethan Strimling pushed for the mural’s removal on Tuesday, saying it bordered on hate speech. But city officials permitted the mural to remain.

Portland Water District officials say the wall along the city’s Eastern Promenade has been open to graffiti artists for 15 years.

Someone altered the mural Tuesday night to remove all KKK imagery and instead add Mickey Mouse ears to LePage’s likeness.

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