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 Facebook user named Alura Stillwagon, with the caption, “The racism in Millinocket is actual.” The unique publish has been shared greater than 100 occasions.
The insurance coverage company didn’t reply to CNBC’s requests for remark.
“I am not indignant. Anger will get you nowhere. I am simply deeply, deeply upset,” another Facebook user, Ken Anderson, commented on the post. “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 upset. 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 top of slavery to greater than 250,000 Black individuals who remained enslaved even after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, according to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Because the picture of the signal started circulating on-line, individuals have taken to on-line evaluate web site Yelp to sentence the insurance coverage company, prompting Yelp to disable users’ ability to publish on the corporate’s web page.
“This enterprise just lately acquired elevated public consideration leading to an inflow of individuals posting their views to this web page, so we’ve got briefly disabled the power to publish right here as we work to analyze 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 type, all evaluations on Yelp should mirror an precise first-hand client expertise (even when meaning disabling the power for customers to precise factors of view we would agree with).”
The company acquired practically 90 — largely one-star — Yelp evaluations, with many posters condemning the insurance coverage company as “racist.”
Jeff Sibel, a spokesperson for Progressive, stated in a press release, “We’re conscious and appalled by the signal just lately 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 atmosphere the place our individuals really feel welcomed, valued and revered and anticipate 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 a press release.
The chair of the Millinocket City Council, Steve Golieb, released a statement Tuesday denouncing the signal.
“It’s deeply saddening, disgraceful and unacceptable for any particular person, enterprise or group to aim to make gentle of Juneteenth and what it represents for tens of millions 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.”
President Joe Biden and the state of Maine each signed bills into regulation in June 2021 recognizing Juneteenth as a federal and state vacation.