The people who live around Steve Johnson in the Bay Area community of El Sobrante aren’t finding him very neighborly these days.
To be fair, though, installing a giant swastika on your front yard can have that effect.
Johnson recently put the giant Nazi symbol on his yard in Contra Costa County but insists it has nothing to do with Adolf Hitler or the Third Reich.
“It’s a Tibetan symbol. That’s a life symbol. The Tibetan priests used to have that way before Hitler was even thought of,” Johnson told San Francisco TV station KTVU.
The station then asked Johnson point blank: “Are you Tibetan?” He responded, “I could be.”
San Francisco ABC affiliate KGO noted that many Eastern religions used what’s known as a Swastik, which looks similar to the symbol associated with the Nazis.
Johnson told reporters that he was just copying a design on his guardrail and that the symbol has only one message to him. “It represents me not having to pull weeds out of that part of my yard,” he said, according to NBC Bay Area.
As you might expect, Johnson’s neighbors aren’t exactly excited about his landscaping choices.
Vince Poehnelt, a man of German descent who has lived near Johnson since childhood, says the display is very offensive.
“I’m very ashamed of it,” Poehnelt told NBC Bay Area, but he admitted he considers Johnson to be harmless.
“Maybe he’s a little too lazy to be a full-blown neo-Nazi,” he said.
Other neighbors expressed concern about the message the symbol was sending and that it might reduce property values, according to CBS San Francisco.
Johnson didn’t seem concerned.
“I own this house and I’ll put what the hell I want on my front yard, and it’s none of you guys’ business, so get the hell off my property!” Johnson told reporters, according to the station.