It’s not just in the South where the Confederate flag can create a combustible situation. In Portland, Ore., on Wednesday, Heather Franklin became appalled when she saw rugs adorned with rebel flags hanging for sale on the wall of the grocery store Everyday Deals.
She recorded herself as she confronted the store’s employees, and from there all hell broke loose.
According to The Oregonian, Franklin, who was with her two children, said to one store employee “You don’t care about having hate flags on your wall? […] It’s a symbol of slavery, it’s like having a Swastika on your wall.”
An employee who identified himself as being Mexican said the rugs with the flags are not hate symbols. Another employee asked her if she voted for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, and said, “Is that why you’re in a bad mood?”
The same employee can be heard calling her a “liberal whiny bitch.”
Franklin, who said she typically does her grocery shopping at the store, was asked to leave. She continued to record as she walked into the parking lot. The employees followed her out there and both parties shouted at each other from a distance with Franklin pleading for the men to leave her alone and not to come any closer. On the video, the men did not approach her.
They started to mock her as she started to cry.
Another woman came to her aid in the parking lot. Franklin was near-hyperventilating and she told the woman she was going home.
After her video went viral, the CEO of the store, Andrew Toolson, placed the two employees on indefinite leave. He said he has received calls from people across the country. He said the store receives about 150 rugs each week and that the last shipment included several rugs with the Confederate flag. Those rugs have been removed from the store, Toolson said.
“I was sick to my stomach when I saw that video,” he told The Oregonian. He said that he considers his company to be “as far from a racist organization” as it can be. “I’ve talked to those employees,” he said. “They’ve handled it very poorly.”