Francis Scott Key statue vandalized: 'Racist anthem'
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A statue of the American writer Francis Scott Key was found vandalized in a Baltimore neighborhood early on Wednesday. 

The statue in the Bolton Hill neighborhood was found covered in red and black paint with the words "Racist Anthem" spray painted on the side of the monument.  

Key is most known for penning the "Star Spangled Banner." The area around the third stanza of the poem was found painted black.

That particular stanza has been considered controversial by various readers and historians. Key was a slave owner. 

"No refuge could save, Hireling or slave, From terror of flight, Or gloom of grave," the stanza reads. 

Key's monument in Baltimore is not the only monument in the city to be vandalized in recent days. 

A 225-year-old monument to Christopher Columbus was vandalized in Baltimore last month. 

The vandalism comes amid a heated national debate over whether Confederate monuments should be removed from public spaces.

Proponents of removing the monuments say they represent racism and white supremacy, while supporters of the monuments defend them as part of the history of the U.S.

President Trump weighed in on the debate in August and defended the statues.