Rainn Wilson is speaking out against hate crimes and racism after he says one of his close friends found a noose hanging from a tree on his front lawn that was fashioned out of a plastic tie wrap.
Wilson says his friend, Jamey, sent a photo of the disturbing scene over to The Office star, who subsequently shared the image to his Instagram followers on Tuesday with a lengthy message.
Nooses are commonly associated with the history of slavery and lynching in the U.S.
In the post, Wilson, 53, revealed that Jamey and his sister Yolanda are African-American.
“Looks pretty innocent at first, right? But when you learn that… the photo turns instantly chilling,” he wrote, adding that it was an act of “racial hatred.”
Jamey and Yolanda are siblings who live together in suburban Los Angeles, Calif., and according to Wilson, Yolanda’s 17-year-old daughter was the first to discover the makeshift noose.
The star added that the local authorities didn’t seem too bothered by the incident.
The actor, best known for his portrayal of Dwight Schrute on The Office, went on to say that while the U.S.’s racism issues have improved over the last century, there’s still much improvement to be made.
“Many folks are in denial about the extent to which racism exists in our country in 2019,” he continued. “Just ask a Black Person. They will tell you stories.”
The actor added: “Jamey told me that last year, while playing golf, he was looking for his ball in the bush and a white guy who wanted to play through called out ‘Hey, can you hurry up? We don’t have you picking cotton anymore!'”
Wilson went on to say Jamey’s own great grandfather was a slave who worked on a cotton plantation and was “regularly beaten there.”
In response, Wilson’s photo went viral. He has since been praised widely for efficiently utilizing his platform and large social media following to share an important lesson in history while fighting against racism.
Here’s what some of his followers had to say:
“Thanks for using your platform to express this, Rainn,” wrote one user on Instagram.