Private companies are not regulated when it comes to putting partisan or controversial content in public places. But that’s not to say they are protected from criticism when they or their employees decide to do so. One area trash company found that to be true after a photo of a bulletin board in one of its locations was shared on social media around 200 times (and counting), starting over the weekend.
Ed Wollet saw the content he describes as discriminatory during a visit to drop off recycling Saturday at the Lake Area Disposal Service Inc. location on 6th Street. He isn’t the first to note the messages, including anti-Muslim sentiment, posted in a place viewable to the public, however he has been thrust into the local social media limelight by sharing a photo of it. He and other customers say they will cancel their service. The company has since claimed the views on the board are not representational of its policies - here’s what manager Ron Jaronske shared via email:
The materials in question do not represent any policies of Lake Area Disposal Service.
Those responsible for posting the materials have been reprimanded and admonished to never again allow any partisan statements to be posted on company property.
We apologize for any offense caused by the presence of these materials and wish to reassure our customers that it will not be allowed to happen again.
The board had contained controversial political rhetoric since at least April*, according to a customer who shared a photo with us he took from that time (photo above.) Wollet says he hopes the whole scenario results in a teachable moment for the company and its employees.
*Added note 2/16: Many NPR Illinois listeners report that the board had been on display for several years.