Maine insurance coverage company faces on-line backlash after racist Juneteenth signal


An insurance coverage company in Millinocket, Maine, is dealing with 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. Take pleasure in your fried rooster & 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 by the name Alura Stillwagon, with the caption “the racism in Millinocket is actual.” The unique put up has been shared greater than 100 occasions.

“I am not offended. Anger will get you nowhere. I am simply deeply, deeply disenchanted,” another Facebook user, Ken Anderson, commented on the post. “On this enterprise, within the corporations that permit this enterprise dealer their merchandise, and within the city of Millinocket, within the state of Maine, and the entire rattling nation. Deeply disenchanted. Why? As a result of I do know we are able to do higher. However we’re not making an attempt. 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 tip 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 evaluation website Yelp to sentence the insurance coverage company, prompting Yelp to disable users’ ability to put up on the corporate’s web page.

“This enterprise just lately obtained elevated public consideration leading to an inflow of individuals posting their views to this web page, so we have now quickly disabled the power to put up right here as we work to research 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 opinions on Yelp should mirror an precise first-hand client expertise (even when which means disabling the power for customers to precise factors of view we would agree with).”

The company obtained practically 90 — largely one-star — Yelp opinions, with many posters condemning the insurance coverage company as “racist.”

Jeff Sibel, a spokesperson for Progressive, mentioned in an announcement, “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 setting the place our individuals really feel welcomed, valued and revered and count on that anybody representing Progressive to participate on this dedication. The signal is in direct violation of that dedication and does not align with our firm’s Core Values and Code of Conduct,” Sibel mentioned in an announcement.

The chair of Millinocket’s 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 try to make gentle of Juneteenth and what it represents for thousands and thousands of slaves and their residing descendants,” Golieb’s mentioned. “There isn’t any place within the City of Millinocket for such a blatant disregard of human decency.”

The insurance coverage company didn’t reply to requests for remark.

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

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