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Protest over sign displaying homophobic slur in Appleton

Published: Apr. 17, 2021 at 10:57 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - More than one hundred people spent their Saturday afternoon, protesting a digital sign we reported on Friday night. That sign displayed a homophobic slur and could be seen on the side of a business on a busy street in Appleton. The sign that was put up by the owner of Krieger Jewelers, Jamie Boyce, is on private property located at 200 N. Richmond Street. City leaders say both, the sign and speech are constitutionally protected.

Boyce removed the message Friday afternoon saying that it was misinterpreted. He changed it to “If you care what you think, you are sick. If you care what I think, it’s evil upon you.”

He told Action 2 News that he was quoting a Saturday Night Live script by former Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy, referencing a stance against communism. Boyce was present at the protest on Saturday, saying that he wanted to support the LGBTQ+ community.

“I’m here to support everyone cause I love everyone, I have no hate in my body at all, I’m not racist or sexist, I’m very outspoken and I say dumb things sometimes trying to make political points,” Boyce said.

Community members gathered to protest outside of the controversial sign. Protesters were outraged that Boyce showed up, even asking him to leave at one point during the protest, which he eventually did.

“Why would he show up, like he verbally attacked an entire group of people and then comes out here and thinks he can make nice?” protester Abby Ringel said.

Protesters tell me Boyce handed letters out to people an hour before the protest began.

”He was passing those letters out and they were full of hate speech and him trying to explain why it was okay for him to use the words that he did,” Ringel explained.

In the middle of the protest, Boyce had the sign outside of his building changed to a rainbow with a welcome message.

“I’m actually really glad it’s being changed but the fact that it took all of us being out here and protesting this sign for it to be actually changed to something more welcoming for our community, really just kind of goes to show the character of the owner that put it up,” protester Atlas Grey said.

Friday morning, Appleton’s Mayor Jake Woodford and Appleton Police put up their own digital sign right in front of it, that reads “Hate has no home here, dignity and peace!”

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