Maine insurance agencies say they’re being confused with agency facing public outrage for Juneteenth sign

An employees of the Harry E. Reed Insurance Agency released a statement Wednesday apologizing for the hurt the sign caused.
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 12:53 PM EDT
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MILLINOCKET, Maine (WABI) - A family insurance agency in Millinocket is coming forward saying they’re being mixed up with another agency in town that’s currently facing outrage for a sign displayed in their window over the weekend.

The owners of Millinocket Insurance Agency called TV5 Wednesday morning saying they’re receiving hateful phone calls from people all over the U.S. mixing them up with the Reed Agency.

The two businesses are located near each other on Penobscot Avenue in Millinocket.

The amount of calls they’re receiving is making it hard for them to do their job and service their customers.

People on social media have shared pictures of the sign that was posted on the door of the Reed Agency on Penobscot Avenue stating: “Juneteenth it’s whatever... We’re closed. Enjoy your fried chicken & collard greens.”

The town manager tells TV5 that sign has since been removed.

Message posted on Reed Agency window
Message posted on Reed Agency window(Alura Stillwagon)

Another business in Damariscotta called Reed Family Insurance Advisors has dealt with people thinking they are the business in question.

They posted the following statement on their website:

“The Reed Family Insurance Advisors of Damariscotta is not affiliated in any way with the Harry E Reed Insurance Agency in Millinocket. Like many, we became aware of several news stories published over the past 24 hours reporting on an offensive sign posted on the front door of this other agency containing racist stereotypes. It is important for our clients and our community to know that we here at Reed Family Insurance Advisors have no association with this agency and condemn the racist content presented in their sign.

We at Reed Family Insurance Advisors are an agency that has a heart to serve. We focus our energy and attention on helping others, not breaking them down. We stand by and believe that all people are created equal in the image of God with significance and dignity. We strive to serve everyone according to that truth, there is no room for racism. Racism is the antithesis of that, and we unequivocally condemn it in all its forms.”

Millinocket Insurance Agency - an insurance agency that has been in business for over 100 years is coming forward, too.

We spoke with Lori Speed of the agency Wednesday morning.

She says because their phone number is almost identical to Reed Agency - they’re being harassed with phone calls from all over the U.S. for a sign they did not post.

Unlike the insurance agency in Damariscotta - Speed says they cannot leave an automated voice message.

That’s why they’re asking folks to stop calling their agency regarding this incident.

“If we had an automated message, somebody could say please cover my home, boat, this or that and legally we are bound to cover that, even though we have taken no payment. If someone had a loss then we would be personally sued, so we cannot leave an automated message, unfortunately,” Speed said.

This was the sign Millinocket Insurance Agency posted on their door for the Juneteenth holiday.

The Speeds’ say they appreciate what Juneteenth stands for and do not condone what happened.

The Town of Millinocket released a statement to TV5 in response.

“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 ancestors. There is no place in the Town of Millinocket for such a blatant disregard of human decency. The Town of Millinocket is a beautiful place to live - filled with welcoming, kind, and hardworking people. As such, the Town does not accept or endorse anything short of inclusivity, and we invite any all to come discover the wonderful things that our community offers,” stated Town Manager Peter Jamieson and Town Council Chair Steve Golieb.

An employee of the Harry E Reed insurance agency released a statement on Facebook Wednesday apologizing for “any misunderstanding and hurt that has arisen out of my usual snarky office closure signs and content.”

Their full statement can be found here.

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