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Insurance agency worker apologizes for Signs of Racial Discrimination June 13

An insurance agent based in Millinocket, Maine, apologized and accepted responsibility for a racist sign that appeared in a business window on June 16, the federal holiday celebrating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans.

The sign, which reads “at will” and urges people to “enjoy your fried chicken and greens,” was met with uproar when it was shared on social media, prompting Progress to sever ties with the insurance agency.

Insurance agency employee apologizes for racist Juneteenth sign
Insurance agency employee apologizes for racist Juneteenth sign

Allstate, which has been approached for comment, is also said to have declined the insurance agency.

In an apology letter, shared on the Facebook page of insurer Harry E Reed, Melanie Higgins, believed to be the daughter of Harry E Reed’s owner, Karen Hansen, took responsibility for the sign and its contents.

“I would like to publicly apologize for any misunderstanding or hurt arising from the signs and content of my usual, awkward office closures,” Higgins said in the post.

Higgins confirmed she had been “reprimanded” but did not share further details about what was involved.

Higgins said she “quickly wrote” after the family’s death, and said she would “never have any aspect of the word considered racist.”

Higgins, who describes herself as “overweight” and “multiracial,” said she has posted food-related signs since the COVID epidemic hit in 2020, having previously shared signs of sausages, pastries, snacks and burgers.

The company employee says she often uses humor to “lighten” situations, “usually at my own expense.”

“I am very sorry for any pain I have caused and the negative attention it has brought to our community,” Higgins said.

The insurer urged people not to “punish” Hansen, who Higgins said had nothing to do with the sign “in any capacity.”

“I deeply apologize to my employers at Tower Ten Insurance for causing chaos, disgust and hatred to their longstanding business in this community,” Higgins said.

The sign drew condemnation this week when it was shared on social media by a passerby.

Millinocket Town Council president Steve Golieb said Tuesday that the sign showed “a fundamental disregard for human decency.”

The town “does not accept or endorse anything that lacks inclusiveness,” Golieb said in a statement.

Harry E Reed’s phone line was not available when the Insurance Business Department attempted to be contacted for comment.

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