A family-owned jewelry store has received death threats over an ad using the NFL’s kneeling situation as a pun.
A historic New England highway is host to a controversial ad: a billboard depicting a young man kneeling near midfield.
The twist is that he’s not protesting, but proposing.
The Garieri Jewelers advertisement reads, “If you’re going to take a knee this season, please have a ring in your hand!”
It is a reference to President Trump’s attack on the National Football League and its players who knelt during the anthem in protest, and something Massachusetts-based jeweler Scott Garieri called a witty “play on words.”
“The way that the football season was, everyone had a thing about taking the knee,” he said. And so, Scott Garieri and Alexandria, his daughter and store manager, came up with what he called a “catchy” advertisement.
Initial reactions to the billboard, he said, were overwhelmingly positive. But the mood quickly changed after one disgruntled driver pulled over on the Charlton, Mass., road, snapped a photo and posted it to Facebook, accusing the ad of “being racist.”
The Garieris attempted to defuse the firestorm of furious comments that followed.
“We want to sell engagement rings. We’re selling love, not hate,” Alexandria said. “We were never wanting to be offensive, it was always meant to be satirical.”
Online users quickly began rating the store with one star. Comments came through social media platforms threatening to vomit on the jewelry showcases and urinate on the adjacent sidewalk. Then, Garieri said, someone wrote: “Alexandria why don’t you just kill yourself?”
“That’s when it started to get out of hand,” he said”
The business was opened in 1947 and Scott Garieri took over after his father’s passing in 1978.