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Chicago-area business bans Biden voters with ‘stay out’ sign

Joe Biden. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
January 12, 2021

A business owner in a Chicago suburb placed a sign in his shop’s window last week telling people who voted for Joe Biden to “stay out.”

Shaun Thompson, owner of the Elmhurst Cigar House, told CBS 2 that he doesn’t want shoppers’ business, cash, or presence in his store if they voted for Joe Biden for president.

The orange sign hanging in a window of his store includes the handwritten words, “Biden voters keep out!”

Several people told CBS 2 that the sign was “appalling” and “offensive.”

“I find it really, truly appalling – pretty much that I would like to say out and not go in,” one woman told the news outlet. “I find it horrible.”

“I find that offensive,” another woman added. “I’m a Trump supporter, so if somebody put ‘Trump supporters stay out,’ I wouldn’t, you know, find that a very kind thing to put out.”

But Thompson defended the posting, noting that it is not a joke.

“I don’t want them anyway. I don’t want them in there, and I don’t to have to pretend that they have respect for me, so I’m going to show disrespect for them,” Thompson said. “Don’t come in my store. Tell your friends. I don’t want you in the store. I don’t want you near me.”

After six years of ownership, Thompson decided to put up the sign following the November presidential election as a way to protest the contested results.

According to Thompson, the issue was “absolutely” a matter of his freedom of speech.

“There’s nothing in any antidiscrimination law – federal, state or local, that prohibits you from expressing your political beliefs – which is obviously what this store is doing,” said CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller, adding that the sign is protected speech in a private business.

Mill said the sign will not produce any legal consequences, but business consequences could be on the horizon.

“Business consequences – is he doing this to enhance his bottom line, or in the long run, would this really ruin his bottom line,” Miller said.

Thompson said he’s not concerned about the potential financial fallout; due to COVID restrictions and shutdowns, Thompson said he has had zero sales before.

It’s not the first time a business owner decided to bar customers based on their political agenda.

In the weeks following the 2016 presidential election in which Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, a business owner in New Mexico told his clients that supported Trump “to leave our firm”

“I believe I have a moral obligation as a citizen of the United States and as a person of principle to stand up for what I think is right,” Matthew Blanchfield, owner of 1st in SEO, told NBC News at the time.

Blanchfield made the announcement via a blog post, stating, “If you are a Republican, voted for Donald Trump or supported Donald Trump, in any manner, you are not welcome at 1st in SEO and we ask you to leave our firm.”