The TV Land cable network unveiled the newest in its series of sitcom statues on Wednesday, June 15, when crowds gathered to see the bronze portrayal of Elizabeth Montgomery as the beloved Bewitched character Samantha Stephens.
The large statue was placed in Lappin Park in Salem, Massachusetts, and depicts Montgomery riding a broomstick over a crescent moon. Salem officials welcomed the statue as a bit of whimsical fun, and they hope that it will draw a few more tourists to the famed home of the 1692 witch trials.
Not all Salem residents agree, however, and several protesters gathered with picket signs at the unveiling ceremony. To these people, the statue is simply a three-dimensional ad for the Bewitched movie, which stars Nicole Kidman and hits theaters June 24. They believe that it makes light of the trials, after which 20 people were brutally put to death for suspected witchery.
John Carr, a lifelong resident of Salem, says the statue is "in horribly bad taste" and that it is "trivializing that aspect of Salem's history."
Supporters claim that Salem has long paid its bills by exploiting the trials for tourist dollars, and TV Land's senior vice president said that he has visited the city and believes that it has "embraced the pop culture side" of its dark past.