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Report: Pool owners to retire following claims of racism

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WENDELL — Following widespread backlash from some members of the public to their decision to ban dreadlocks and baggy pants, a couple who owns a private pool in Wendell announced they plan to retire at the end of the summer.

WTVD reported that the Outdoor Recreation Center of Wendell will remain open through Labor Day, Sept. 2. After that, owners John and Teresa Freeman will retire.

The announcement came days after the pool made headlines for posting a list of pool rules that banned dreadlocks, hair weaves and baggy pants.

Thousands of social media users lashed out at the rules, calling them racist and urging people not to visit ORC. Others online pointed to a post that Teresa Freeman appeared to have shared to her personal Facebook page. The post was a meme saying a Confederate flag isn’t offensive, but black men with baggy pants are.

The Freemans responded by saying they rules meant to only prohibit artificial hair extensions that could clog up pool filters and lead to a multi-day closure. The couple denied being racist.

According to WTVD, ORC sent the following message to pool members:

“To Our ORC Family:

Johnny turns 65 in January, therefore, we have decided to retire and spend more time with our family. Regretfully, after this season, we will be closing ORC after Monday, Labor Day. All of you will be greatly missed as we have watched your children grow up. Thank you for all the support through the last 6 years.

With love and much appreciation!”