On Tuesday, several news outlets, local and international, published reports of a billboard in rural Maryland that used obscenities to criticize President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
The news was first reported by Fox affiliate WTTG before being picked up by other outlets such as WTOP and the U.K.-based Independent, which went on to report a controversial billboard in Calvert County, Maryland, that depicts caricature-like images of Biden and Harris on top of piles of faeces and refers to them as "sh*theads"
The billboard was put up in Huntingtown, southeast of Washington, DC and reads, "Don't blame Trump! You are stuck with these two s**theads!!! From all your deplorables in Calvert County."
Fact-checking website Snopes confirmed that the sign is, in fact, erected on a billboard in Maryland, and there is evidence to prove it.For example, there is video footage, broadcasted by WTTG on May, showing vehicles passing by the billboard:
It is not yet known when the sign was first erected but it was referred to in a May 3 statement from the Calvert County Democratic Party, whose chair Jeanette Flaim condemned the sign and called for its immediate removal.
"The obscene imagery and language displayed on this latest sign is deeply disturbing," she said in a statement obtained by The Southern Maryland Chronicle. "This does not reflect the values of our County, regardless of party. Our county is home to a myriad of families who must drive by this on their way from school or work. Our county welcomes visitors from far and wide. Parents should not have to explain something so vile to their small children. And it certainly shouldn't be what our visitors remember us for."
However, in a statement shared on Facebook, the county government said it cannot take down the sign despite its "provocative" content. Citing the Supreme Court case decision Reed v. Town of Gilbert (2015), it said that as local sign regulations are based on location, materials and size and not verbiage or language, it would be illegal for the to regulate signs based on the content of their messages and has no power to restrict expression of free speech.
This is not the first time the billboard has sparked controversy. In May 2018, another billboard in the same location and seemingly by the same group went viral, as reported by CNN. "Hey liberals," it read. "Better get your guns if you try to impeach President Trump." That billboard was also erected by a group that referred to themselves as "deplorables" from Calvert County.