WILDWOOD, N.J. (CBS) — The mayor of Wildwood wants to bring the Kate Smith statue to the Jersey Shore after the Philadelphia Flyers removed it outside the Wells Fargo Center following racism allegations against the singer. Mayor Ernie Troiano, who already said Smith’s version of “God Bless America” will continue to play on the boardwalk, says he’s fine-tuning a plan should such an acquisition be possible, even suggesting having the Smith statue on the boardwalk.
“I’m a mayor of a great city who is colorblind because we have free beaches, we invite everybody. I don’t sit here atop of that bridge and say, ‘You’re pretty well dressed, you can come in. You know what, I don’t like the way you look, you can’t come in.’ We invite the world,” said Troiano.
This past weekend, the Flyers decided to remove Smith’s statue and stop playing her rendition of “God Bless America” at games when it was revealed that she sang racially insensitive songs in the 1930s. One song Smith recorded was called “That’s Why Darkies Were Born,” and it included the lyrics, “someone had to pick cotton.”
“I don’t think she’s the person everyone saying she is, and, of course, she’s not here to defend herself,” said Troiano.
The Flyers would not take questions about the statue, referring back to the statement they released this weekend.
“We cannot stand idle while material from another era gets in the way of who we are today,” the Flyers said in a statement.