NY Town Shamed Into Replacing Offensive Seal

And the 'Daily Show' might be to thank
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2016 3:04 PM CST
NY Town Shamed Into Replacing Offensive Seal
Less than two weeks after voting to keep it, the town of Whitesboro, New York, announced it will replace its official seal, which many say is offensive.   (Observer-Dispatch via AP)

It turns out the small New York town whose official seal depicts either a "friendly wrestling match" between town founder Hugh White and a Native American or town founder Hugh White brutally choking out a Native American—depending on your point of view—will replace the seal after all, the Syracuse Post-Standard reports. Earlier this month, the town had (unofficially) voted 74% in favor of keeping the seal. According to the New York Times, that changed once the town saw the national reaction to the vote. Mayor Patrick O'Connor says residents were surprised at the negative publicity Whitesboro received afterward. "They wanted to preserve history at the time of the vote but, also want to ensure [the] village is seen as the inclusive place that it is,” the Times quotes a statement from O'Connor.

The Daily Show apparently played a large part in shaming Whitesboro into changing the seal. Time Warner Cable News reports the television show was behind the vote (the show "worked with village officials to hold a vote"), even going so far as to submit a number of the wacky alternatives up for consideration. After airing a segment on the hullaballoo on Thursday (correspondent Jessica Williams: "Is that pioneer choking that Native American dude to death, or do I have something crazy in my eye?"), The Daily Show revealed O'Connor had called Williams that morning to announce the seal's impending change, according to the Post-Standard. Hugh White's descendants will be working with the Oneida Indian Nation to come up with a new seal. “We applaud the village leaders’ willingness to evaluate their own symbols and how to make sure they accurately reflect their community’s core values,” the Times quotes an Oneida representative. (More New York stories.)

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