Watch CBS News

Maine insurance agency's racist Juneteenth sign draws backlash

Juneteenth: America's second Independence Day
Juneteenth: America's second Independence Day 05:24

An insurance business in Maine is facing online backlash over a racist sign taped up in the building's window over the Juneteenth holiday weekend. "Juneteenth ~it's whatever... We're closed. Enjoy your fried chicken & collard greens," read the sign, which was seen in the Harry E. Reed Insurance Agency in Millinocket.

Alura Stillwagon, a local resident, posted a photo of the sign Monday on Facebook, writing, "The racism in Millinocket is real." 

The racism in Millinocket is real

Posted by Alura Stillwagon on Monday, June 20, 2022

The sign drew negative reviews and low stars on the agency's Yelp page, prompting the business review site to "temporarily disabled the ability to post" as it investigates the content, Yelp said.

"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," the company said. 

Steve Golieb, chair of the Millinocket town council, also addressed the sign in a statement Tuesday.

"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," he wrote. "There is no place in the Town of Millinocket for such a blatant disregard of human decency." 

A CBS News request for comment was not returned by the Harry E. Reed Insurance Agency.

Juneteenth – which marks the the end of slavery in the U.S. – officially became a federal holiday last year. Many stores and offices were closed Monday in observation of the holiday. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.