Conservative Kiosk Not Allowed at Mall
I find this amazing! When Bush was in office, everywhere I went there were stores selling anti-Bush stuff – bumper stickers, buttons, posters, mugs, etc – and no one said a word. In fact, the dems thought it was just great!!! I didn’t agree with the sentiment, but never once did I ask that these stores be shut down. I did wonder why they didn’t sell stuff with the opposite viewpoint and even asked them about it, but in the end, they are a private business and they get to decide what they want to sell. Let buyers decide if they want to shop there and then the place will shut down or it won’t, but just because someone doesn’t agree with the sentiment does NOT mean a business owner should be shut down. We should contact the folks at the Concord Mills Mall and let them know what we think of their decision to kick this business out of the mall!! Again I say, the libs think that free speech is ONLY for their side!
Conservative kiosk not allowed at mall
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
“Al Qaeda’s favorite days: 9/11/01 and 11/04/08.”
“Work Harder. Obama needs the money.”
The bumper stickers and posters sold at “Free Market Warrior” at Concord Mills are meant to be “biting,” the kiosk’s owner Loren Spivack said.
At least one passerby found them racist and bigoted, and took time to tell the mall in a letter and a letter to the editor of the Charlotte Observer.
Whatever your opinion, the fact is this: At the end of July, Free Market Warrior will not be allowed at Concord Mills Mall. The kiosk chain’s owner shared e-mail correspondence with NewsChannel 36 that explains that the mall management has decided that the items sold are not “neutral” enough. The lease will be allowed to expire July 31, 2009 without an option to renew.
Spivack, who first leased the space this spring, says the decision came as a shock to him. He says mall management seemed pleased with the kiosk just a few weeks ago.
“Nobody in that mall is selling anything from a conservative perspective. Plenty of people are selling things with a liberal perspective, with a pro-Obama perspective,” he said. “Given that we are in America and not North Korea, we probably should have some stuff on the other side.”
Spivack says he is careful not to sell things that personally attack a politician and wants a fair exchange of ideas. “The material that I sell is about politics and ideas,” he told Newschannel 36. “It’s all legitimate criticism.”
Concord Mills, owned by Simon Property Group, would not comment for this story, cited a policy against talking about tenant and landlord situations.
Spivack says the company first contacted him about his lease after a letter to the editor appeared in the Charlotte Observer. The author, recent UNC-Charlotte graduate Jennifer Ibanez, wrote:
“Free Market Warrior, a kiosk located adjacent to Bass Pro Shops, specializes in memorabilia embellished with pro-confederacy statements as well as those opposing both the government and President Obama. In addition, these products support ideas such as racisms, sexism, and even slavery. While freedom of speech is a Constitutional right it’s difficult not to believe that something just isn’t quite right here.
“I find it appalling that Concord Mills, North Carolina’s #1 visitor attraction, would condone such a message to be portrayed by their vendors and can’t imagine how the outside visitors’ perceptions of North Carolinians have been skewed by such an establishment.
“It’s hard to stay open-minded when such uncivilized and outdated ideas are endorsed on a daily basis. It’s 2009; please, let’s at least try to put this type of bigotry to an end.”
Ibanez told NewsChannel 36 she was so offended, she wrote the mall as well. She says a friend of hers also wrote in. Both threatened not to return to Concord Mills.
The owner of the mall group, Mel Simon, has been a generous contributor to Democratic causes and politicians, including Barack Obama. Spivack thinks the decision about his lease is political.
“If they have decided to make their malls conservative/libertarian free zones, where those opinions can’t be expressed, I do think it’s their right to do that, but it’s our rights to publicize the fact that they are doing that,” he said.
If the issue is about causing offense, he told us, the mall should police other stores. Spivack sent NewsChannel 36 pictures of several T-shirts and banners from novelty stores at the mall that were so crude we’ve chosen not to share them.
“What I think the mall should have done if they thought that we were expressing one set of ideas and not another, is that they should have gotten another store to come in and sell their ideas,” he said. “I would’ve been all in favor of that. I would have helped them move in.”
NewsChannel 36 has been swamped with e-mails and comments on this story. A spokesperson for the mall did not return a call Thursday about the e-mails, which were hand-carried to the office by reporter Rad Berky. A receptionist unlocked a door and took the e-mails but we don’t know if anyone read them.