Maine Insurance Company Slammed For Racist Juneteenth Holiday Sign
Many stores and offices closed Monday (June 20) for the observance of Juneteenth, the federal holiday that marks the end of slavery in the United States. For some reason, an insurance agency in Maine that closed for the holiday thought it was a good idea to tape a message to its window that used a racial stereotype.
But it apparently wasn’t the smartest choice. The Harry E. Reed Insurance Agency in Millinocket faced an avalanche of condemnation after a photo of the sign circulated on social media, Newsweek reports.
"Juneteenth ~it's whatever... We're closed. Enjoy your fried chicken & collard greens," read the sign, posted to Facebook by local resident Alura Stillwagon. She captioned it, "The racism in Millinocket is real."
"My first reaction was disbelief, I just couldn't understand that someone would post that without seeing anything wrong with it," Stillwagon told Newsweek. "Millinocket is a predominantly white town, and I just thought about the few people of color who have to see this racism in their own town."
The company received a flood of negative reviews on Yelp, forcing the business review site to “temporary disable the ability to post” views about the insurance agency.
“While racism has no place on Yelp and we unequivocally reject racism or discrimination in any form, all reviews on Yelp must reflect an actual first-hand consumer experience (even if that means disabling the ability for users to express points of view we might agree with),” Yelp wrote.
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The sign, which has been criticized as racist, also caught the attention of Millinocket Town Council Chairman Steve Golieb.
"It is deeply saddening, disgraceful and unacceptable for any person, business, or organization to attempt to make light of Juneteenth and what it represents for millions of slaves and their living descendants," Golieb wrote. "There is no place in the Town of Millinocket for such a blatant disregard of human decency."