Freedom of speech thrown out of the mall

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Freedom of speech thrown out of the mall

Post by CarolinaHound on Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:47 pm

I guess we're only allowed freedom of speech if it's pro-bambam. Fairness is a farce in this country, at least it's that way in some of our malls.It's fine to bash Bush and other conservatives for their F-ups, but it's little less than blasphamy to speak out against the F-uped liberal government running, (my bad.... ruining) our country now.


Conservative kiosk not allowed at mall

CONCORD, N.C. -- "Impeach Obama."

"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.


http://www.wcnc.com/news/topstories/stories/wcnc-072109-mrn-freemarketwarrior.63b5bce2.html

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Re: Freedom of speech thrown out of the mall

Post by Kazza on Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:17 pm

The mall is privately owned, though. If I own a mall and want to have nothing on sale but pro-ron paul badges and blue socks then that's my right as owner of the property.

More likely, though, is that the owner will do whatever they feel is likely to generate them the most profit. If they think that anti-obama merchanidse is going to hurt their sales then they'll get rid of it. If people find that decision unpopular then they can vote with their dollars.

Anyone is free to buy a mall and put nothing on sale but pro-republican, anti-obama merchandise. That's the beauty of a free country.
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Re: Freedom of speech thrown out of the mall

Post by CarolinaHound on Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:37 pm

But Kazza there would be a stink raised like you wouldn't believe if someone opened a mall that allowed nothing but anti-liberal propaganda. They'd be labeled as racists and trying to silence the liberal view. There would be law suits and marches for days over that.

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Re: Freedom of speech thrown out of the mall

Post by Kazza on Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:37 pm

Yeah, perhaps, but then in that case what the mall owner is doing is just good business sense. If people are willing to protest the mall and boycott them because they diss Obama, but they're not willing to do the same because they diss Republicans, then that's the fault of the people, not the mall, and it's not surprising that they don't allow anti-Obama stuff to be sold there. The mall's actions are just a reflection of the will of the customers.

I think it's stupid getting upset either way, but who am I to tell people what they're allowed to get pissed off about and what they're not?
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Re: Freedom of speech thrown out of the mall

Post by CarolinaHound on Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:05 pm

Nope, no reason at all to pissed about a man being put out of buisness because his merchindise doesn't share the love Obama mentality that the property owner has, even though the man paid his rent for that space and has just as much right to sell that mercindise as any of the others have to sell their crap that some may find offensive.

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Re: Freedom of speech thrown out of the mall

Post by Kazza on Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:52 pm

Sorry, wasn't referring to you with that last sentence, I was referring to people that get pissed off about what merchandise is on sale.
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Re: Freedom of speech thrown out of the mall

Post by CarolinaHound on Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:01 pm

hehehe... My bad, I mis-interprited what you were saying or typing. Very Happy
I agree, seems like people could just turn their head and walk away and be done with it. Same as changing the radio station if you don't like the music. There's no law that says you have to stand there and look at it.

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Re: Freedom of speech thrown out of the mall

Post by PaulM on Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:51 am

I wonder if there is a "Hot Topic" store in that mall?

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Re: Freedom of speech thrown out of the mall

Post by HotParadox on Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:56 am

lol@Paul!

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Re: Freedom of speech thrown out of the mall

Post by CarolinaHound on Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:28 pm

PaulM wrote:I wonder if there is a "Hot Topic" store in that mall?

Nope but they do have a "As Seen On TV, Etc." store. Very Happy


seriously, they do. lol

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