Kawartha Dairy takes heat after asking worker to remove 'freedom convoy' flag from car
One of Ontario's most-popular ice cream producers, Kawartha Dairy, has unwittingly been pulled into a political squabble-fest after someone noticed some suspect flags on the vehicle of an apparent employee outside its Newmarket location.
The weirdness started on June 6, when a Twitter user posted a (now-deleted) photo of a black SUV bearing four flags and several slogans associated with the anti-mandate "freedom convoy" movement.
"Is this what Kawartha Dairy stands for?" read the original tweet. "Are you a proud supporter of the fringe minority trucker convoy (as the sticker on the car says)? Do you want kids seeing this profanity?"
Almost immediately, people started pledging to boycott the dairy brand for appearing to support what turned out to be a violent, destructive, illegal occupation of the nation's capital and other key cities.
Crtitics were offended in particular by what appeared to be a set of black and white "f**k Trudeau" flags, which were a common sight atop the vehicles of anti-vaxxers during the infamous trucker protests.
An assistant manager at the store told the Newmarket Era that a customer called on the morning of June 7 to complain about the flags. They were removed by 11 a.m. that day, but that's not where the story ends.
They have my support.— 🌈Jess Non-gmo human 🇨🇦🇺🇲 (@jess_traviss) June 8, 2022
F🍁CK TRUDEAU https://t.co/ZyabUkZG80
As it turns out, the flags did not contain any profanity directed toward Canada's Prime Minister. While styled the same, they read: "We are the Fringe."
The phrase stems from Trudeau's own words (he decried the anti-lockdown protesters back in January as a "fringe minority") but are now very much associated with the anti-lockdown movement and people who seem to detest the PM.
"There is no F-Trudeau on the vehicle," said the assistant manager. "It says We are the Fringe, and there's a sticker that says 'peace, love, unity, freedom'. It's literally about peace and love; it's not about discrimination or any hatred toward Trudeau or anybody else whatsoever."
Nevertheless, Kawartha Dairy confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that it had asked the employee in question to remove the flags from their vehicle, and that the employee had complied.
"We understand the flags on one of our employee's personal vehicles were offensive," said the company in a statement on Twitter. "Although there was no profanity on the flags, we have spoken to the employee, who has removed the flags from their vehicle."
"Kawartha Dairy does not support and is in no way affiliated with the fringe movement."
Thank you.— Eric Lawton (@Eric0Lawton) June 10, 2022
As a Kawartha resident, I thank you and will continue to buy your excellent products.
Unfortunately for the Bobcaygeon-based dairy brand, the move seems to have upset even more people than it placated.
Now, instead of dealing with complaints from anti-anti-lockdowners, Kawartha Dairy is fielding critical comments from the notoriously-hateful right wing Twitter crowd.
"How does Kawartha Dairy reconcile, in their words, being an inclusive company that respects personal opinions of employees with asking an employee to remove a 'We The Fringe' flag?" wrote one Twitter user on Thursday. "Inappropriate overreach! Which the employee really had no choice but to comply!"
"Absolutely disgusting on Kawartha Dairy. That employee should never of been made to feel like they had to remove the flags," wrote another.
"Shame on the NANCY, KAREN OR A**HOLE who has decided to play with someone else's livelihood, I will pray for you because only God has that right to judge."
And the comments go on and on to the point where people on either side of the fence are just arguing amongst themselves on Twitter. This usually signifies the sunset of a scandal (if this flag flap can even be called that).
"Kawartha Dairy is our local dairy company and I'd have been peeved if they'd let their employee leave 'f*ck Trudeau' flags on the car in their parking lot (folks saw them, though KD say they were other flags)," wrote one loyal supporter. "As it is, imma keep buying their ice cream. Death By Chocolate ftw!"
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