Maine insurance agency faces online backlash after racist Juneteenth sign

Google Earth see of Reed Agency in Millinocket, Maine.

Google Earth

An insurance plan agency in Millinocket, Maine, is experiencing on line backlash right after a picture circulated on Fb of a indication taped to the business’s door on Monday indicating, “Juneteenth ~it truly is whichever… We’re closed. Love your fried chicken & collard greens.”

The graphic of the indication at the Harry E. Reed Insurance policies Company, an affiliate of nationwide insurance provider Progressive, was initially shared by a Fb person named Alura Stillwagon, with the caption, “The racism in Millinocket is actual.” The primary publish has been shared more than 200 instances, even though a equivalent article by a unique user has been shared extra than 10,000 occasions.

“I’m not offended. Anger gets you nowhere. I’m just deeply, deeply unhappy,” one more Fb user, Ken Anderson, commented on the post. “In this organization, in the corporations that allow this enterprise broker their merchandise, and in the town of Millinocket, in the state of Maine, and the complete damn region. Deeply dissatisfied. Why? Because I know we can do far better. But we are not attempting. And that is the element that cuts deepest.”

For a lot of organizations, Monday marked the observance of Juneteenth, a federal vacation that commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union Military troopers arrived in Texas and announced the conclusion of slavery to far more than 250,000 Black individuals who remained enslaved even after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, in accordance to the Nationwide Museum of African American Record and Culture.

The insurance company did not respond to CNBC’s requests for comment, but Melanie Higgins informed Information Center Maine she was the employee who posted the sign and apologized.

“I would under no circumstances purposely established out to harm any individual and I would by no means purposely established out to damage my mom’s organization at all. She had almost nothing to do with this,” Higgins stated. “I truly apologize.”

Given that the graphic of the indication commenced circulating on the internet, men and women have taken to on the web evaluate website Yelp to condemn the insurance policy company, prompting Yelp to disable users’ ability to put up on the firm’s webpage.

“This organization not too long ago been given improved public notice resulting in an inflow of individuals publishing their views to this webpage, so we have temporarily disabled the ability to write-up here as we perform to investigate the material,” an alert on the Harry E. Reed Insurance plan Agency’s Yelp webpage reads. “Whilst racism has no put on Yelp and we unequivocally reject racism or discrimination in any form, all evaluations on Yelp have to replicate an real first-hand customer working experience (even if that implies disabling the means for customers to categorical details of see we might agree with).”

The agency been given almost 90 — mainly a single-star — Yelp critiques, with quite a few posters condemning the insurance policies company as “racist.”

Jeff Sibel, a spokesperson for Progressive, claimed in a assertion, “We’re mindful and appalled by the indication lately posted at the Harry E Reed Company and are terminating our relationship with the agency.”

“At Progressive, Range, Fairness and Inclusion (DEI) are basic to our Main Values. We are fully commited to producing an atmosphere where our individuals really feel welcomed, valued and highly regarded and hope that any individual representing Progressive to choose portion in this commitment. The sign is in immediate violation of that commitment and isn’t going to align with our firm’s Main Values and Code of Perform,” Sibel claimed in a assertion.

The chair of the Millinocket City Council, Steve Golieb, introduced a statement Tuesday denouncing the signal.

“It is deeply saddening, disgraceful and unacceptable for any person, organization or group to attempt to make mild of Juneteenth and what it signifies for hundreds of thousands of slaves and their living descendants,” Golieb wrote. “There is no put in the City of Millinocket for these a blatant disregard of human decency.”

President Joe Biden and the point out of Maine every single signed payments into regulation in June 2021 recognizing Juneteenth as a federal and point out holiday getaway.

Maria Flores

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