An insurance agency in Millinocket, Maine, posted a hateful sign explaining its June 1 closure, sparking outrage and prompting insurance companies Progressive and Allstate to cut ties with the office.
A sign outside the window of the Harry E. Reid Insurance Agency read: “June is whatever… We are closed. Enjoy fried chicken and greens.”
“Racism in Millinocket is real,” wrote a woman who posted a photo of the sign on Facebook on Monday, when financial markets, post offices and many businesses were closed for a national holiday.
June 19, 1865, marks the day that still-enslaved people in Texas were declared free by the Union army, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Steve Golib, chairman of the Millinocket City Council, said in a statement Tuesday that the sign was “sad” and “shameful.”
“There is no place for such blatant disregard for human decency in the city of Millinocket,” Golib wrote.
Progressive spokesman Jeff Siebel said the insurance company is “appalled” and is “terminating our relationship with the agency,” according to CNBC.
Allstate also terminated Reed’s contract, according to NPR.
A swarm of posts on the Yelp agency page prompted the business review platform to pause comments.
Employee Melanie Higgins apologized on Facebook Wednesday for writing the sign, which she said was a misguided attempt at snarky humor. Her mother owns a business.
“I would never intentionally hurt anyone, and I would never intentionally hurt my mom’s business. She has nothing to do with this,” wrote Higgins.
Repeated calls to the agency were met with a busy signal.