Maine insurance coverage firm deals with online reaction after racist Juneteenth indication

Maine insurance agency faces online backlash after racist Juneteenth sign

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Google Earth view of Reed Agency in Millinocket, Maine.

Google Earth

An insurance coverage firm in Millinocket, Maine, is dealing with online reaction after a picture flowed on Facebook of an indication taped to business’s door on Monday stating, “Juneteenth ~it’s whatever… We’re closed. Enjoy your fried chicken & collard greens.”

The picture of the indication at the Harry E. Reed Insurance Agency, an affiliate of nationwide insurance provider Progressive, was initially shared by a Facebook user called Alura Stillwagon, with the caption, “The racism in Millinocket is real.” The initial post has actually been shared more than 100 times.

The insurance coverage firm did not react to CNBC’s ask for remark.

“I’m not angry. Anger gets you nowhere. I’m just deeply, deeply disappointed,” another Facebook user, Ken Anderson, discussed the post. “In this business, in the companies that let this business broker their products, and in the town of Millinocket, in the state of Maine, and the whole damn country. Deeply disappointed. Why? Because I know we can do better. But we’re not trying. And that’s the part that cuts deepest.”

For numerous services, Monday marked the observance of Juneteenth, a federal vacation that honors June 19, 1865, when Union Army soldiers got here in Texas and revealed completion of slavery to more than 250,000 Black individuals who stayed enslaved even after the finalizing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, according to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Since the image of the indication started distributing online, individuals have actually required to online evaluation website Yelp to condemn the insurance coverage firm, triggering Yelp to disable users’ capability to publish on the business’s page.

“This business recently received increased public attention resulting in an influx of people posting their views to this page, so we have temporarily disabled the ability to post here as we work to investigate the content,” an alert on the Harry E. Reed Insurance Agency’s Yelp page checks out. “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).”

The firm got almost 90– mostly one-star– Yelp evaluations, with numerous posters condemning the insurance coverage firm as “racist.”

Jeff Sibel, a representative for Progressive, stated in a declaration, “We’re aware and appalled by the sign recently posted at the Harry E Reed Agency and are terminating our relationship with the agency.”

“At Progressive, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are fundamental to our Core Values. We’re committed to creating an environment where our people feel welcomed, valued and respected and expect that anyone representing Progressive to take part in this commitment. The sign is in direct violation of that commitment and doesn’t align with our company’s Core Values and Code of Conduct,” Sibel stated in a declaration.

The chair of the Millinocket Town Council, Steve Golieb, launched a declaration Tuesday knocking the indication.

“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 composed. “There is no place in the Town of Millinocket for such a blatant disregard of human decency.”

President Joe Biden and the state of Maine each signed costs into law in June 2021 acknowledging Juneteenth as a federal and state vacation.

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