Last Updated: July 5, 2022

Local Insurance Agency Faces Backlash Due to Insensitive Juneteenth Sign

The Harry E. Reed Insurance Agency in Millinocket, Maine, is facing an online backlash after a photo of a sign taped to the business’s door went viral on Facebook. The sign, taped on Monday, read “Juneteenth ~it’s whatever… We’re closed. Enjoy your fried chicken & collard greens.”

Juneteenth is a federal holiday that commemorates June 19, 1865 – the day Union soldiers arrived in Texas and announced an end to slavery. This came nearly two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed The Emancipation Proclamation which declared all slaves free but did not allow them any rights as citizens without protection or job opportunity.

Melanie Higgins, the employee who put up the sign has apologized. According to News Center Maine, she didn’t put up the sign on purpose and had no intention of causing damage to her mother’s business.

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

Sibel further added, “We’re committed to creating an environment where our people feel welcomed, valued and respected. The sign is in direct violation of that commitment and doesn’t align with our company’s Core Values or Code of Conduct.”

The sign has sparked a firestorm online, as people across the country take notice of this unfortunate advertisement. Since it began circulating on social media, many have chimed in with their thoughts about how neglectful an insurance agency would be towards its customers by using such imagery as part of their marketing strategy.

This also led to many people leaving one-star Yelp reviews for the business and labelling the insurance agency as “racist”.


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