The owners of a Shell gas station in Nashville, Tennessee are getting the attention they hoped for by queuing their digital sign with bigoted phrases toward Muslims and trans people.
The sign, located directly below the Shell logo and gas prices, cycles through a number of conservative sentiments, including:
Closed on Sundays So We Can Prep For The Crusade.
7yrs of Obama & We Can’t Figure Out Which Restroom To Use!
Fired some people due to the entitlement of this generation, now hiring.
Snoop Doggy dog you need a jobby job job. Now hiring.
As stated, the station really is closed on Sunday, so reporting station WSMV was unable to get a comment from the franchise owner — but there were plenty of locals around who were willing to give their opinion.
Gregory Crownover, the only interview subject who had a tone of coherency, thought Shell should own up to the intolerance shown toward the LGBT community or part ways with the station owner.
The crusade was Christians fighting against Muslims for the Holy Land. It is basically implying that violence is coming towards Muslims.
This is in Davidson County and is a place of many cultures and different people, this doesn’t reflect well at all for the city or the image it’s trying to display
To me, I see it as Shell is tolerant of these kind of messages. They are welcome to say whatever they want to say, but just don’t be a Shell station anymore, or Shell needs to say they approve of these things being placed under their logo.
And then there were those who were supportive of their right to display it (though I suspect that’s because they agree), like customer Renee Trauernicht:
I would like to say America is supposed to be freedom of speech, so I believe they are doing OK by saying what they feel.
And Beau Butcher:
The way I see it is if you don’t agree with it, don’t read it.
Right, Beau. Like when you don’t agree with abortions, you don’t get one. And when you don’t agree with gay marriage, you don’t get gay married.
But there’s a deeper issue with this sign that shouldn’t be dismissed as “freedom of speech.” It’s creating a hostile atmosphere, taking aim directly at groups of people whose existence is not negatively impacting yours. It’s hateful, ignorant, and a blatant attempt at inciting further discrimination.
The First Amendment will protect you from being silenced by the government, and that’s all it grants you. In the case of Shell deciding to drop a franchisee owner over a values clash, that’s well within their rights. It also won’t protect the franchise from a boycott or deflect those who oppose the message from freely speaking back.
WSMV has reached out to Shell (the corporation) for a response on the matter, but hasn’t heard back yet.