JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A picture circulating the internet has many Jacksonville residents concerned.
The photo appears to show an effigy of a man resembling President Barack Obama hanging from a noose.
Text with the photo claims it was taken at a Shell gas station in Jacksonville.
Because of the many calls and emails from viewers alerting us to the rumor, First Coast News looked into the photo.
A Shell company spokesperson says the photo was taken at or near a Shell-branded site in Raleigh, North Carolina.
It was not taken in Jacksonville, according to the spokesperson.
A statement from the company went on to say the company does not condone the display, adding, "This is the action of one individual who is not affiliated with Shell or any of our wholesalers or dealers."
"Nobody's happy about it, said Zachary Dexter, an employee of a Shell gas station and Daily's Food Mart which has received calls. "It really doesn't matter what your political views are. Nobody deserves to be treated like that.
The store's manager Nick Vyas told First Coast News the store had received numerous calls over the last two days asking about the image.
"Obviously, nobody likes bad publicity," Dexter said. "It doesn't really matter who you are."
It is unclear why the photo, which the company confirmed was taken in North Carolina, is now falsely rumored to have been taken in Jacksonville.
Aubrey Edge, President and CEO of First Coast Energy, which owns the Daily's and Shell stations in the Jacksonville area, released the following statement:
A disturbing picture of President Obama hanged in effigy was posted this week on various social media sites indicating that the picture was taken at one of our Shell gas stations/convenience stores in the Jacksonville metropolitan area. The taking of the picture did not occur anywhere in Jacksonville and, in fact, appears to be part of a national prank on social media sites.
Our company, gas stations/convenience stores and our employees were not involved in any way with the taking, posting or distribution of this picture, and do not condone the actions taken to create it or post it online. We continue to investigate this matter and have contacted local and federal authorities to assist them in their investigation efforts.
First Coast News