A Florida woman’s Facebook post went picked up steam earlier this week when she blasted a local antique shop for selling a Ku Klux Klan figurine. In response, the store’s owner defended the item, saying it won’t be sold to blatant racists.
Ericka Boussarhane was visiting Uncle Billy’s Antique Mall in Pensacola, Florida, Feb. 4 when she discovered the figurine in a display cabinet.
“Why would a local business have this for sale? Ironically, It’s Black History month!!
Thanks but I’ll pass!! This business will not get any of my $$$ #Inappropriate #Insensitive,” Boussarhane, who is Black, wrote in the caption of her Facebook post.
The customer, who the Miami Herald reported had visited the shop at the suggestion of a friend who said it had interesting glass work, said other racist imagery was also in the store. They included an advertisement for a blackface minstrel show and an ad for “Darkie Toothpaste.”
Speaking to Yahoo Lifestyle about the incident, Boussarhane explained how shocked she felt.
“I stopped in my tracks and thought, am I dreaming? Because obviously, this can’t be happening,” she said. “I took a moment to gather myself and asked the manager why she was selling it.”
In response, Melissa Hollis, who is white, explained the store sells historical artifacts to customers and noted the figurine, which had one of its arms detached, would not be sold to anyone who is racist. She then detailed the story of how she vetted one customer and decided against selling an authentic KKK robe to the patron who wanted to hand out literature and pamphlets associated with the racist organization.
“I’m not gonna interview them, but if it comes across that they’re a hateful person I’m not going to sell it to them,” Hollis told the Pensacola News Journal. “If you don’t like it, just don’t come here again. I’m sorry, it’s not like we don’t want anyone to stop coming here, but if you’re offended by it then just don’t come.”
Reportedly, Hollis and the store’s owner, Billy Boyette, are selling the KKK figurine for a third-party vendor with the store.
After the post gained traction, many irate Facebook users have lashed out on the antiques store’s Facebook page.
“what a sad, racist store this is.”
“You are a bunch of insensitive racists for glorifying racism and helping to keep it alive. Please enjoy our outrage as our anger rains down on you.”
“Selling KKK artifacts supports racist ideology. I wonder would you sell figurines of middle east terrorists cutting off the heads of Christian captives? Or, do you draw the line and only sell the racism you support.”
Still, others have backed up the shop. One user thanked the owner for “standing up for history.”