Maine insurance agency faces online backlash after racist

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Google Earth view of Reed Company in Millinocket, Maine.

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An insurance policy company in Millinocket, Maine, is facing on the net backlash soon after a picture circulated on Facebook of a sign taped to the business’s door on Monday declaring, “Juneteenth ~it truly is regardless of what… We are shut. Love your fried rooster & collard greens.”

The picture of the indicator at the Harry E. Reed Insurance plan Agency, an affiliate of countrywide insurance company Progressive, was at first shared by a Facebook consumer named Alura Stillwagon, with the caption, “The racism in Millinocket is actual.” The first publish has been shared additional than 200 moments, even though a equivalent put up by a unique person has been shared more than 10,000 occasions.

“I’m not angry. Anger will get you nowhere. I am just deeply, deeply let down,” a further Fb person, Ken Anderson, commented on the post. “In this organization, in the firms that permit this business enterprise broker their items, and in the town of Millinocket, in the state of Maine, and the complete damn country. Deeply unhappy. Why? Due to the fact I know we can do greater. But we’re not hoping. And that’s the portion that cuts deepest.”

For lots of organizations, Monday marked the observance of Juneteenth, a federal holiday break that commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union Military troopers arrived in Texas and introduced the stop of slavery to additional than 250,000 Black people who remained enslaved even after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, according to the National Museum of African American History and Lifestyle.

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

“I would never ever purposely set out to harm any individual and I would hardly ever purposely established out to hurt my mom’s small business at all. She had practically nothing to do with this,” Higgins said. “I truly apologize.”

Because the impression of the indicator started circulating on line, folks have taken to on-line review web site Yelp to condemn the insurance policy agency, prompting Yelp to disable users’ ability to article on the firm’s webpage.

“This enterprise not long ago acquired elevated community consideration resulting in an inflow of persons putting up their sights to this webpage, so we have temporarily disabled the ability to post listed here as we function to investigate the content material,” an notify on the Harry E. Reed Insurance coverage Agency’s Yelp web site reads. “Though racism has no place on Yelp and we unequivocally reject racism or discrimination in any type, all reviews on Yelp should mirror an actual very first-hand customer encounter (even if that signifies disabling the skill for buyers to categorical details of check out we could possibly agree with).”

The company received nearly 90 — largely one particular-star — Yelp opinions, with a lot of posters condemning the coverage company as “racist.”

Jeff Sibel, a spokesperson for Progressive, stated in a assertion, “We’re aware and appalled by the indicator not too long ago posted at the Harry E Reed Agency and are terminating our partnership with the agency.”

“At Progressive, Range, Fairness and Inclusion (DEI) are basic to our Main Values. We’re committed to creating an setting wherever our people truly feel welcomed, valued and respected and expect that everyone representing Progressive to choose aspect in this motivation. The indication is in direct violation of that determination and won’t align with our firm’s Main Values and Code of Conduct,” Sibel reported in a assertion.

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

“It is deeply saddening, disgraceful and unacceptable for any particular person, company or group to try to make light-weight of Juneteenth and what it represents for millions of slaves and their residing descendants,” Golieb wrote. “There is no location in the Town of Millinocket for these a blatant disregard of human decency.”

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

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