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Thousands look to boycott two Freeport restaurant owners


Update: A previous version of the story said that Ivan Sayles operated the Nawlins Seafood Co. He no longer does. 

More than seven thousand people have signed a petition online to boycott three businesses on Freeport’s Nautical Mile after residents said the owners of these businesses posted comments on social media that undermined the Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death. 

The petition reads that it is meant to bring accountability to Bracco’s Clam Bar and Capt. Ben’s Seafood Market, operated by Jon Bracco, and Rachel’s Waterside Grille, operated by Ivan Sayles. 

“Many of us share the outrage and exhaustion in the face of the George Floyd murder and the many others whose lives have been stolen prematurely due to police brutality and institutionalized racism in this country,” wrote Nicole Engleton on the petition. “We know that this is a time to show our commitment with our actions. We recognize the emotional toll of continuing to witness Black trauma, AND the need for all of us to take the time to take a stand. We will not support business owners.”  

“Change starts when their business loses profit,” Dinnae Williams added. 

On the change.org petition, residents said they were outraged when they found posts “glorifying white supremacy” on Bracco’s Facebook timeline. Many residents were also angry over Instagram posts Bracco made commenting on the protests. 

The posts have since been taken down. 

He later posted an apology on social media, saying his comments were “insensitive and poorly timed.”  

As of the time of press, Bracco could not be reached for comment. 

In Sayles case, residents were angered by a post he made that called out the burning of a Minneapolis police precinct, calling it an “attack on U.S. sovereignty.” He also posted that “if you don’t like the way you[‘re] treated by the cops, then hire a [expletive] lawyer.” 

Sayles said his post was not meant to undermine the Black Lives Matter movement, and said he spoke in response to the damage to the precinct and local businesses.

He also said that he was not aware that “All Lives Matter” was an inappropriate response to “Black Lives Matter,” which is why he had previously used that term. 

Despite the backlash, Sayles said he does stand by his statements and believes peace can be acquired when residents vote and bring lawsuits against those who perpetrate acts of hate.      

He added that he did not want residents to boycott the other businesses on the Nautical Mile.