OKLAHOMA — Organizers of an Oklahoma race are coming under fire for a picture they posted on their Facebook page.
It appears they’re using the LGBT rainbow flag as a shooting target.
The post angered many people who took it as a direct threat to the LGBT community.
Event organizers say they did not expect the response they got and that it was all meant as a joke.
The Oklahoma Run ‘n Gun is a biathlon combining running and shooting.
They’re promoting their upcoming race in Pawnee on July 18 on their Facebook page, but some are saying one post went too far.
“People got really offended and really upset and people were really feeling threatened,” said Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director Troy Stevenson.
The picture shows two men with rifles standing beside a rainbow flag and the caption reads “new high visibility targets on the 500 yard range.”
“People took it as a threat, people felt very threatened,” said Stevenson.
“Since it said our new target and it had guns that I took it as a threat,” said human rights activist, Mahkesha Hogg.
“I think for many gay men and women in the state of Oklahoma, we feel as if we walk around as targets,” said Scott J. Hamilton, an advocate for the LGBT community.
Stevenson says he reached out to event organizers after seeing the picture.
“He assures us that it wasn’t meant as a threat. It was a situation where I don’t think the people doing it understood social media or how bad their joke was,” said Stevenson.
The race organizer tells NewsChannel 4 some people had been complaining about not being able to see the targets, so this was their response… a brightly colored one.
He says it was meant to be funny.
“You could definitely tell by reading the comments that they were trying to make a joke out of this. But once again, it was going way too far and offending a lot of people and it was very threatening language,” said Stevenson.
Funny or not, the post has been removed from the Oklahoma Run ‘n Gun Facebook page.
The event organizer tells us they are a fitness and liberty minded group, not a hate group.