Woman records confrontation with SE Portland store selling Confederate flag
Protesters are planning to picket a Southeast Portland grocery on Thursday after a woman recorded a confrontation with employees over Confederate flag imagery for sale at the store.
"I think it’s our duty to stand up when things are wrong, regardless if they’re going to respond the way I want them to. I’m not going to not say something," said Heather Franklin, whose video has gone viral on Facebook.
The video, posted Wednesday morning, shows Franklin asking an employee at Everyday Deals Extreme Liquidators about a Confederate flag rug on a rack at the store.
“So you don’t care about having hate flags on your wall?” she asks a store employee.
He responds by saying, “How is that a hate flag?”
In the video, Franklin was cursed at, and a different man is seen flipping off the camera.
"People complain about all kinds of things. You can complain about the music in the store or the lights in the store, you wouldn’t expect people to attack you. But complaining about a symbol of hate in a store, the response is anger toward that person for even bringing it up," said Franklin.
Another video shows both men following Franklin outside the store to her car.
"It was very frightening. They were being very aggressive. Once I started my camera, they backed off a little bit, but I really believe that they would have assaulted me and the children if I hadn’t brought out my camera and started screaming for people in the parking lot to intervene," Franklin said.
Now, store management is stepping in to condemn those employees' actions.
"They took it upon themselves. I think that was wrong. That’s what management gets paid for is to take care of problems," said store manager Jack Fabel.
"These are two good employees who’ve been with the company a long time. And obviously they handled the situation very poorly this morning, and I’d like to talk to the woman myself. I’ve tried to reach out to her and let her know that I’d love to let her know that it wasn’t handled correctly and I’m sorry that she had to experience that here," says Andrew Toolson, the store president.
"I would just like to say that we are definitely not a racist organization and have nothing to do with that and it was an oversight even to have those rugs up here," he said.
The group Direct Action Alliance has planned to protest the store Thursday afternoon and store management has said that they will support the rights of peaceful demonstrators.