Maine insurance agency faces online backlash after racist

Google Earth check out of Reed Company in Millinocket, Maine.

Google Earth

An coverage agency in Millinocket, Maine, is experiencing on the net backlash following a photograph circulated on Facebook of a indication taped to the business’s door on Monday indicating, “Juneteenth ~it is really no matter what… We are shut. Take pleasure in your fried chicken & collard greens.”

The impression of the sign at the Harry E. Reed Coverage Agency, an affiliate of nationwide insurance provider Progressive, was initially shared by a Fb user named Alura Stillwagon, with the caption, “The racism in Millinocket is true.” The original post has been shared far more than 200 moments, nevertheless a comparable post by a distinctive consumer has been shared extra than 10,000 periods.

“I’m not angry. Anger will get you nowhere. I am just deeply, deeply disappointed,” one more Fb user, Ken Anderson, commented on the post. “In this company, in the companies that let this company broker their goods, and in the town of Millinocket, in the state of Maine, and the whole damn region. Deeply disappointed. Why? Mainly because I know we can do improved. But we’re not making an attempt. And that’s the section that cuts deepest.”

For many companies, Monday marked the observance of Juneteenth, a federal vacation that commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union Military soldiers arrived in Texas and introduced the close of slavery to much more than 250,000 Black people who remained enslaved even immediately after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, in accordance to the National Museum of African American History and Tradition.

The insurance policy company did not reply to CNBC’s requests for comment, but Melanie Higgins told Information Centre Maine she was the employee who posted the indicator and apologized.

“I would never ever purposely set out to hurt any one and I would in no way purposely established out to damage my mom’s business enterprise at all. She experienced almost nothing to do with this,” Higgins explained. “I truly apologize.”

Since the picture of the indicator commenced circulating on the web, people today have taken to online evaluation web-site Yelp to condemn the insurance coverage company, prompting Yelp to disable users’ capability to write-up on the company’s site.

“This enterprise not long ago been given elevated general public notice ensuing in an inflow of folks posting their views to this webpage, so we have quickly disabled the potential to submit here as we get the job done to examine the material,” an warn on the Harry E. Reed Insurance plan Agency’s Yelp web site reads. “Although racism has no place on Yelp and we unequivocally reject racism or discrimination in any form, all opinions on Yelp should replicate an precise initially-hand client practical experience (even if that means disabling the skill for consumers to specific details of view we may well concur with).”

The agency been given just about 90 — largely one-star — Yelp opinions, with lots of posters condemning the insurance policy agency as “racist.”

Jeff Sibel, a spokesperson for Progressive, reported in a assertion, “We’re knowledgeable and appalled by the indication a short while ago posted at the Harry E Reed Agency and are terminating our romance with the company.”

“At Progressive, Variety, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are fundamental to our Main Values. We are committed to generating an surroundings where our people really feel welcomed, valued and respected and hope that any person representing Progressive to acquire portion in this dedication. The sign is in immediate violation of that determination and would not align with our firm’s Core Values and Code of Carry out,” Sibel said in a statement.

The chair of the Millinocket Town Council, Steve Golieb, unveiled a assertion Tuesday denouncing the indicator.

“It is deeply saddening, disgraceful and unacceptable for any man or woman, business enterprise or group to endeavor to make gentle of Juneteenth and what it signifies for tens of millions of slaves and their dwelling descendants,” Golieb wrote. “There is no position in the Town of Millinocket for these types of a blatant disregard of human decency.”

President Joe Biden and the state of Maine each signed bills into regulation in June 2021 recognizing Juneteenth as a federal and condition getaway.

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