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STURBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS – A historic New England highway is host to a controversial ad: a billboard depicting a young man kneeling near midfield.
The twist is that he’s not protesting, but proposing.
The Garieri Jewelers advertisement reads, “If you’re going to take a knee this season, please have a ring in your hand!”
The article goes on to state the following:
It is a reference to President Trump’s attack on the National Football League and its players who knelt during the anthem in protest, and something Massachusetts-based jeweler Scott Garieri called a witty “play on words.”
“The way that the football season was, everyone had a thing about taking the knee,” he said. And so, Scott Garieri and Alexandria, his daughter and store manager, came up with what he called a “catchy” advertisement.
Initial reactions to the billboard, he said, were overwhelmingly positive. But the mood quickly changed after one disgruntled driver pulled over on the Charlton, Mass., road, snapped a photo and posted it to Facebook, accusing the ad of “being racist.”
The Garieris attempted to defuse the firestorm of furious comments that followed.
“We want to sell engagement rings. We’re selling love, not hate,” Alexandria said. “We were never wanting to be offensive, it was always meant to be satirical.”
Online users quickly began rating the store with one star. Comments came through social media platforms threatening to vomit on the jewelry showcases and urinate on the adjacent sidewalk. Then, Garieri said, someone wrote: “Alexandria why don’t you just kill yourself?”
“That’s when it started to get out of hand,” he said.
@GarieriJewelers love the billboard. I am sorry people are harassing you and your family but my family appreciates it.
— Lin Kenneally (@lwk629) September 6, 2018
We are not taking our billboard down. Thankyou everyone for the support we appreciate it so much! We are trying to answer everyone but we are just so busy! We hope everyone understands and Thankyou again !
— GarieriJewelers💎 (@GarieriJewelers) September 8, 2018
Great Americans needing some jewelry? There is a jeweler you should buy from. It’s Garieri Jewelers in Sturbridge, Mass.,
Massachusetts jewelry store under fire after ‘take a knee’ billboard backfireshttps://t.co/ETJrFNvl2r
— Que pasa. (@lolomarez) September 8, 2018
A Wonderful message with great meaning, LOVE! Well done Garieri Jewelers of Charlton, Ma.#garierijewelers#scottgarieri#alexandraobrien#charlton#massachusetts#love#kneeling#sturbridge#Route20#P8NTRMAN
— Jonathan La Salle (@P8NTRMAN) September 7, 2018
Jewelers made a ‘take a knee’ joke on a billboard. Now they’re getting death threats. https://t.co/fn4yIP1I8V
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) September 8, 2018
Ⓕ Massachusetts jewelry store under fire after ‘take a knee’ billboard backfires: Garieri Jewelers in Sturbridge, Mass., came under fire after their billboard showing a man proposing to a woman was called racist. https://t.co/IGjNnjUnM3
— King (@yyyyyy88) September 8, 2018
Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick. Embarrassed this happened in my state. https://t.co/LjKV4szdVA
— Jeff Chausse (@JeffChausse) September 8, 2018
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