An insurance agency in Millinocket, Maine, posted a hate speech to explain the closure to Juneteenth, which provoked outrage and prompted Progressive and Allstate insurance companies to sever ties with the office.
A sign behind the window of Harry E. Reed Insurance Agency read: “June tenth – that’s whatever … We’re locked up. Enjoy your fried chicken & collard greens. ”
“The racism in Millinocket is real,” wrote a woman who posted a photo of the sign on Facebook on Monday as financial markets, post offices and many businesses closed for the national holiday.
Juneteenth honored June 19, 1865, the moment still enslaved people in Texas were declared free by the Union Army, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Millinocket town council chairman Steve Golieb said in a statement on Tuesday that the sign was “sad” and “shameful”.
“There is no place in the town of Millinocket for such a blatant disregard of human decency,” Golieb wrote.
Progressive spokesman Jeff Sibel said the insurer was “upset” and “ended our relationship with the agency,” CNBC reported.
Allstate also terminated its contract with Reed, NPR reported.
A swarm of messages on the agency’s Yelp page prompted the business review platform to suspend comments.
An employee, Melanie Higgins, apologized on Facebook on Wednesday for writing the sign, which she said was a misguided attempt at snarky humor. Her mother owns the business.
“I will never deliberately try to hurt anyone and I will never deliberately hurt my mother’s business. She had nothing to do with this, “Higgins wrote.
Repeated calls to the agency were received with a busy signal.