3 insurance companies sever ties with Millinocket company after June 19 racist sign
Three major insurance companies have severed ties with a Millinocket firm amid backlash over a racist sign left on its door on June 19.
A Progressive spokesperson says NPR that the company is “appalled” by the sign posted Monday at Harry E. Reed Insurance Agency and called it a “direct violation” of the insurer’s commitment to diversity.
Allstate has joined Progressive in ending its business with the Millinocket Company, telling NPR that diversity, equity and inclusion are “non-negotiable.”
MMG Insurance, a regional agency founded in Houlton in 1897, said on Wednesday it had terminated its contract with Harry E. Reed Insurance, saying the June 19 sign was ‘not in line with the values and culture which guide our efforts for equality both within our company and with those with whom we do business.
“We remain committed to fostering an environment of respect, which encourages inclusion and models civility as we do our part to lead progress,” the insurer said in a statement.
Monday marked the first time Maine celebrated June 19 as an official holiday. The holiday, which marks the date in 1865 when Union troops informed black people in Galveston, Texas that the Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery had been signed two years earlier. It is traditionally celebrated on June 19, but was observed on Monday as the holiday fell on a weekend.
The closed sign on the door of the Harry E. Reed Insurance Agency read, “Juneteenth ~ bullshit… We’re closed. Enjoy your fried chicken and collard greens.
A photo of the panel was first shared on Facebook and then widely distributed on the internet, notably on the Reddit site.
Since then, it has sparked widespread backlash. Millinocket City Council Speaker Steve Golieb called his sentiment “deeply saddening, shameful and unacceptable.”
The backlash has even trapped other Maine businesses by mistake. Reed Family Insurance Advisors, which is located in Damariscotta, has received angry calls and requests for comment from reporters who have confused it with the unrelated Millinocket business.