Google Earth view of Reed Company in Millinocket, Maine.
An insurance coverage company in Millinocket, Maine, is going through on-line backlash after a photograph circulated on Fb of an indication taped to the enterprise’s door on Monday saying, “Juneteenth ~it is no matter… We’re closed. Get pleasure from your fried hen & collard greens.”
The picture of the signal on the Harry E. Reed Insurance coverage Company, an affiliate of nationwide insurer Progressive, was initially shared by a Fb person named Alura Stillwagon, with the caption, “The racism in Millinocket is actual.” The unique publish has been shared greater than 200 occasions, although an analogous publish by a special person has been shared greater than 10,000 occasions.
“I am not offended. Anger will get you nowhere. I am simply deeply, deeply disenchanted,” one other Fb person, Ken Anderson, commented on the publish. “On this enterprise, within the firms that permit this enterprise dealer their merchandise, and within the city of Millinocket, within the state of Maine, and the entire rattling nation. Deeply disenchanted. Why? As a result of I do know we will do higher. However we’re not attempting. And that is the half that cuts deepest.”
For a lot of companies, Monday marked the observance of Juneteenth, a federal vacation that commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union Military troopers arrived in Texas and introduced the tip of slavery to greater than 250,000 Black individuals who remained enslaved even after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, in accordance with the Nationwide Museum of African American Historical past and Tradition.
The insurance coverage company didn’t reply to CNBC’s requests for remark, however Melanie Higgins instructed Information Heart Maine she was the worker who posted the signal and apologized.
“I’d by no means purposely got down to damage anybody and I’d by no means purposely got down to damage my mother’s enterprise in any respect. She had nothing to do with this,” Higgins stated. “I really apologize.”
Because the picture of the signal started circulating on-line, folks have taken to on-line overview website Yelp to sentence the insurance coverage company, prompting Yelp to disable customers’ means to publish on the corporate’s web page.
“This enterprise not too long ago obtained elevated public consideration leading to an inflow of individuals posting their views to this web page, so now we have briefly disabled the flexibility to publish right here as we work to research the content material,” an alert on the Harry E. Reed Insurance coverage Company’s Yelp web page reads. “Whereas racism has no place on Yelp and we unequivocally reject racism or discrimination in any kind, all critiques on Yelp should mirror an precise first-hand shopper expertise (even when which means disabling the flexibility for customers to precise factors of view we would agree with).”
The company obtained almost 90 — largely one-star — Yelp critiques, with many posters condemning the insurance coverage company as “racist.”
Jeff Sibel, a spokesperson for Progressive, stated in an announcement, “We’re conscious and appalled by the signal not too long ago posted on the Harry E Reed Company and are terminating our relationship with the company.”
“At Progressive, Variety, Fairness and Inclusion (DEI) are basic to our Core Values. We’re dedicated to creating an setting the place our folks really feel welcomed, valued and revered and count on that anybody representing Progressive to participate on this dedication. The signal is in direct violation of that dedication and would not align with our firm’s Core Values and Code of Conduct,” Sibel stated in an announcement.
The chair of the Millinocket City Council, Steve Golieb, launched an announcement Tuesday denouncing the signal.
“It’s deeply saddening, disgraceful and unacceptable for any particular person, enterprise or group to aim to make mild of Juneteenth and what it represents for thousands and thousands of slaves and their dwelling descendants,” Golieb wrote. “There is no such thing as a place within the City of Millinocket for such a blatant disregard of human decency.”
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