Anti-Police Brutality T-shirts Spark Controversy At Cherry Hill Mall
CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) - A vendor at the Cherry Hill Mall sparked controversy when he took to Facebook after mall officials asked him to stop selling anti-police brutality t-shirts.
Now he's packed his bag, even after an apology.
"I felt belittled, it wasn't a really good feeling," says Towan Miller, owner of Teary Eyez, a t-shirt kiosk that has stood in Cherry Hill Mall for 18 months.
Miller says everything was fine until he started selling a shirt that he designed, which reads "THIS HAS GOT TO STOP" beside a smaller set of stick figure police officers beating a man.
"They told me to take the shirts down and put them in a bag, put them in a box and take them out with you," says Miller, "they told me my employees couldn't even wear the shirts."
The Mall cited complaints as their reason for the request. Miller eventually took the shirts down on Tuesday evening and went on Facebook. His video immediately went viral.
"People were saying 'boycott Cherry Hill Mall'," he says, "I wasn't necessarily down with that, but what they did was wrong."
On Wednesday, the Mall reversed its decision and reached out to Miller. He didn't respond, instead packing up, saying he's not going back and will be focusing on the Teary Eyez kiosk at Philadelphia Mills.
"They only apologized because the media got involved," he says. "I have my own business because I love what I do. I won't let people treat me like that."
Miller says he got a big boost in sales of his controversial T-shirts as his supporters continue to call for a Cherry Hill Mall boycott.
A spokesman for the mall wrote in an email:
"Although the merchant did not respond, on Wednesday July 13, Cherry Hill Mall reached out to the merchant on numerous occasions to acknowledge we made a hasty decision and invite him to resume selling the t-shirts. The merchant has since elected to vacate the premises of his own volition. We apologize for our initial action and wish his business continued success."
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