The owner of a Massachusetts jewelry store is facing criticism from the Left for a satirical billboard about the NFL protests.
“If you’re going to take a knee this season, please have a ring in your hand!” the billboard says, with a picture of a man proposing to a woman in a football stadium.
Scott Garieri, the owner of Garieri Jewelers in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, told The Daily Wire that he put the billboard up on August 31 and since then has received several threats and negative reviews. “They called us racist right off the bat,” he said. “That’s the go-to word these days; if you’re nothing else, you’re a racist.”
“I’m not a racist,” Garieri added. “It was more satirical than anything else.”
According to the Telegram, hundreds of people have left negative Facebook comments and Garieri says people threatened to vomit in his store, urinate on his sidewalks, and someone also told his daughter, who manages the store, to kill herself.
“I’ve had enough,” Garieri said. “I got on [Facebook] and said ‘Look, if you don’t like my billboard, don’t look at it, and if you have a problem with me, don’t shop at my store.’’”
Despite the threats, he said nobody has come to the store with hostile intentions so far.
Gerieri believes most people attacking him online have never been to his store and do not know him. He also added that he is not interested in getting their business. “I am a person of belief,” he said. “If I believe in something, you’re not going to change my mind just so I get your business. I am a man of my word.”
“I don’t force my beliefs on anyone,” Gareri said. “I don’t say ‘you’re either a Trump guy or the highway,’ I am an open guy. I can agree to disagree with anybody, but I do not take favor to people threatening my daughter or my family.”
Garieri says he rents the billboard year round and changes it two to three times a year. “We have 3-5 seconds to catch your attention so it needs to be short, sweet, and to the point,” he said. “People will remember something funny.”
Last year, Garieri had another satirical billboard that read: “make her speechless… for a change,” that also received a lot of backlash, according to turtleboysports.com. Garieri said he was called sexist for that billboard but says a lot of people also found it funny.
Although the billboard was satirical, Gareri describes himself as a conservative and says he disagrees with the NFL protests. “I disagree with it 100%,” he said. “If it comes down to Colin Kaepernick or my veterans, there is no competition. I side with our veterans; I side with our police officers.”
While many business owners are not open about their politics for the fear of losing business, Gareri — a Trump voter — does not hide his politics. He says he has yard signs for Republican candidates in front of his store, including one for state Rep. Geoff Diehl, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate who will face Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in November.
Gareri says he is upset about “this whole disrespecting the office of the president and the national anthem by people who think they can just get away with everything.” He believes “it’s time people start standing up to them. I have no problem with it.”
While Gareri is receiving backlash, he also says many people are in favor of what he is doing. “We had over 50 phone calls today from people saying, ‘I’ve never been to your store and I’m not from your area, but I’m going to come to your store and come see you.’”
“I sold two diamond rings today because of this,” he said. “I don’t think it hurts me one bit, and it’s probably because I sided with the right side — not the wrong side.”
Garieri said he has one message for those attacking him online: “Grow up.”