Maine insurance agency faces online backlash after racist

Google Earth view of Reed Company in Millinocket, Maine.

Google Earth

An insurance policy company in Millinocket, Maine, is facing online backlash immediately after a image circulated on Fb of a signal taped to the business’s door on Monday declaring, “Juneteenth ~it truly is whatsoever… We are shut. Love your fried chicken & collard greens.”

The impression of the indication at the Harry E. Reed Insurance policies Agency, an affiliate of national insurer Progressive, was initially shared by a Fb consumer named Alura Stillwagon, with the caption, “The racism in Millinocket is actual.” The authentic publish has been shared additional than 200 periods, though a similar publish by a unique consumer has been shared more than 10,000 periods.

“I’m not offended. Anger receives you nowhere. I’m just deeply, deeply upset,” another Fb consumer, Ken Anderson, commented on the put up. “In this enterprise, in the firms that enable this enterprise broker their products, and in the town of Millinocket, in the state of Maine, and the total damn place. Deeply let down. Why? Simply because I know we can do superior. But we’re not hoping. And that’s the aspect that cuts deepest.”

For many firms, Monday marked the observance of Juneteenth, a federal holiday that commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union Military troopers arrived in Texas and introduced the end of slavery to more than 250,000 Black people today who remained enslaved even after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, in accordance to the National Museum of African American Heritage and Tradition.

The coverage agency did not respond to CNBC’s requests for comment, but Melanie Higgins informed Information Middle Maine she was the personnel who posted the indication and apologized.

“I would under no circumstances purposely established out to harm any person and I would under no circumstances purposely established out to hurt my mom’s enterprise at all. She experienced very little to do with this,” Higgins claimed. “I definitely apologize.”

Since the image of the indicator started circulating on the internet, folks have taken to online critique internet site Yelp to condemn the insurance coverage company, prompting Yelp to disable users’ means to post on the firm’s web page.

“This business lately acquired improved community notice ensuing in an influx of persons publishing their sights to this page, so we have briefly disabled the ability to post here as we operate to investigate the content,” an alert on the Harry E. Reed Insurance policy Agency’s Yelp web site reads. “While racism has no place on Yelp and we unequivocally reject racism or discrimination in any sort, all testimonials on Yelp need to mirror an actual 1st-hand consumer encounter (even if that suggests disabling the potential for consumers to convey details of view we might agree with).”

The agency been given practically 90 — mainly one-star — Yelp testimonials, with many posters condemning the insurance plan company as “racist.”

Jeff Sibel, a spokesperson for Progressive, explained in a assertion, “We are knowledgeable and appalled by the indicator not long ago posted at the Harry E Reed Company and are terminating our partnership with the agency.”

“At Progressive, Diversity, Fairness and Inclusion (DEI) are fundamental to our Core Values. We’re committed to developing an ecosystem exactly where our individuals sense welcomed, valued and respected and expect that any one representing Progressive to consider part in this motivation. The sign is in direct violation of that determination and would not align with our firm’s Main Values and Code of Conduct,” Sibel mentioned in a statement.

The chair of the Millinocket City Council, Steve Golieb, unveiled a statement Tuesday denouncing the indication.

“It is deeply saddening, disgraceful and unacceptable for any individual, business or business to try to make light-weight of Juneteenth and what it signifies for thousands and thousands of slaves and their residing descendants,” Golieb wrote. “There is no put in the Town of Millinocket for this sort of a blatant disregard of human decency.”

President Joe Biden and the condition of Maine each individual signed expenses into legislation in June 2021 recognizing Juneteenth as a federal and condition holiday getaway.