The internet rightfully rained on these bozos’ parade.
Event organizers for the 40th annual Popcorn Festival in Valparaiso, Indiana, are being torched online over a “tasteless” 9/11 parade float unveiled Saturday.
“We worked so hard to show our love, respect, our sorrow … to all the 9/11 victims, the soldiers who died in Afghanistan and our first responders,” reads the caption to a video of the grotesque display, which was posted by the Valparaiso Republicans, the group that commissioned the float. Although the food-and-craft fair traditionally has nothing to do with 9/11, organizers decided to feature a tribute as the festival fell on the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, the Chicago Tribune reported.
And boy, did it backfire.
The clip shows the controversial float’s rectangular gray replicas of the World Trade Center that billow smoke — simulated by a fog machine — right before they tumble to the ground. The towers even bore painted holes adorned with red plastic streamers to symbolize the blaze that began after American Airlines flights 11 and 175 crashed into the buildings.
Slung between the two smoky towers was a harrowing plaque displaying the names of the 2,977 people killed in the attacks on the towers and the Pentagon. The front, meanwhile, featured portraits of 13 local service members killed in the ensuing war on terror and a banner emblazoned with the words “Never Forget.”
The crown jewel of obtuseness was a recording of farewell messages that victims’ families received as their loved ones realized their fate was sealed.
Suffice it to say, the tone-deaf tribute created such a fierce backlash ahead of the event that the Facebook group hid critical reactions and limited which people can comment on their page.
One Chicago-based critic described the float as “beyond tasteless even without the fog machine going.”
“Did you really play the goodbye phone message recordings of the survivors??” they fumed. “Who thought that was a good idea??”
“What in the hell were the Porter County republicans thinking?” spluttered another incredulous commenter. “This video made me nauseous.”
Another wrote, “How that was allowed as a memorial to the 9/11 victims is complete insanity.”
In another video of the float posted to YouTube, a parade onlooker can be heard saying, “That’s a little f–ked up.”
Despite the outrage, it appears that the Valparaiso Republicans are sticking to their guns.
“An email we just received ‘Great job with the float, I know how much work was put into that,’” the group wrote in a pinned comment under their clip, quoting an alleged supporter. “‘I know people think it’s a disgrace but that was not your intention .you also put the names of the victims in the middle as the memorial.’”
“‘Everyone has to be sensitive about everything nowadays. I’m proud to live in Valparaiso and wish I was there to see this,’” they added.
This isn’t the first time someone has taken heat for an insensitive Sept. 11 commemoration. A couple is currently facing the music online for hosting an “obscene and revolting” 9/11-themed wedding after an image was shared online of the wedding party’s personalized beer koozie featuring the Twin Towers.