Food Lion Grocery Store Bans Employees from Wearing “Offensive” American Flag Masks

The Food Lion grocery store chain based in the state of North Carolina made a bold statement that went viral last week when an employee quit after being told that they could not wear American flag-themed masks while working at the store.

Employee Gary Dean, a 69-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran wore his American flag-printed mask for his shift at the Food Lion in Havelock, NC. Dean said that the manager of the store told him that there was a complaint that someone found the mask offensive and told Dean that he could no longer wear the mask to work.

“As a veteran, my dad being a World War II hero, my best friend killed in Vietnam, out of respect for them, I can’t just say, ‘No, I’ll take my flag and put it in my pocket,” Dean said.

Dean did the only thing his heart told him to – he quit.

“I had to quit, out of principle,” he said.

But Americans all across the nation were not happy about that at all and the story began to go viral on the internet.

In a statement, Food Lion said it has “great respect for the American flag,” but also has blanket policies banning writing, insignia, and symbols “to ensure a consistent and professional representation of our associates inside of our stores.”

Since the news of Dean has gone viral, the grocery chain has now changed its stance after the backlash they received. Food Lion says that it will now permit its employees to wear American flag-themed face masks while working at all of its stores.

“We listened to our associates and customers about our uniform policy,” the company said in a statement. “We require that associates wear masks without writing, insignia, or symbols. We will allow associates to wear masks with the American flag that meet this standard.”

According to WCTI-TV, the move appears to be in response to the employee and supporters of Dean, who have demanded that such masks be allowed after the company initially prohibited them.

Dean said that Food Lion officials have offered him his old position at the Havelock grocery store, but he is not sure yet if he will return to work at the store.

In addition, Dean apologized via a social media post on Facebook for the commotion this has caused. He apologized to anyone he may have offended, but ultimately, he still proudly defended his choice.

“I still believe I did the right thing by prioritizing the flag over the paycheck and will always take a stand against those who try to burn, stomp, or otherwise deface, [mar], or show intentional disrespect for our flag,” Dean wrote of his social media account.

Featured Image by Mike Kalasnik

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133 thoughts on “Food Lion Grocery Store Bans Employees from Wearing “Offensive” American Flag Masks”

  1. thats why we do not need sleepy joe in nov. he is for blm and they hate the usa they are a hate group they are a very racist group AND THEY love criminals they should pay for all they destroyed bad bad bad bad group

      1. If you can’t wear or display 5he American flag then whats left…if anyone gets offended by the American flag then they should be removed from the property..and why would a few left wingers have any say in the rights of others to display the flag…why do they live here…move to Russia or north korea..

        1. I totally agree don’t let a few radicals change your American ideas.
          Preserve the America Way of Life ….

          1. Yes and kneeling for the National Anthem is wrong! We need to stand up to these radicals. Any company that caves to these thugs should be boycotted. I like Uncle Ben’s Rice, but if you want to cave to these thugs, I will buy the no name brand…….

          2. I agree. These left wing communist are destroying our country while the cowardly congress ass wholes are setting by and letting them do this. The democraps are nothin byt communist who are being paid off by george soros and his cronies. And if President Trump does not bring in the federal troops and stop all the destruction going on in this country then he is no better than they are.

        2. I agree, all who disrespect the flag need to be removed from this Country with only what they have on their back!

        3. I agree 100% NO ONE SHOULD BE ASHED OF OUR FLAG and if they are defended by it go somewhere else and shop, I’m sure more TRUE AMERICAN’S would rather see the flag then some of the other junk that is put on a mask to wear, God bless America, and Lion Market it’s your store stand up for your rights and be an American that is proud to show our flag

          1. If the flag of our nation offends you we are not the country for you. Please leave and stop trying to tear down the nation we love.

        4. Why do we appease these radicals, if they don’t like the American flag.If that’s their best then get out of our country.Much blood was given for that flag.

          1. You have not lived in an emotional charged environment, one inwhich you are charged when following the law to the letter, no emotional situation except on the complaintant. And yes this is in America against an America soldier who is bound to protect all regardless of race, greed, religion, etc. There is another group of so called citizens here at the border you have never excepted the policies and principles of this country. They tear the American flag and other symbols from your house. Fly the flag of another country on American holidays no American flag present. We as Americans need to stand up to those who think they’re going to make big chances in this country and not to the benefit for all but for the few. Stand up Americans for your rights.

      2. It took this store a while to figure it out but, in the end they saw the light. And if someone was offended by it they should start shopping at another location, maybe in Russia. Who knows, but they wouldn’t be missed.

      1. If they are offended by our flag, .ove somewhere else. Cuba or Venezuela comes to mind. Food lion should go away permanently.

          1. i am so happy i do not shop at food lion. if i did, i’ve have to change to another supermarket chain. if america remains capitalist and free and the leftists don’t like it, there are any of 150 (or so) more socialist nations to which they can emigrate. i’ll help them pack. but if america becomes a socialist shit-hole, where can our refugees go? that’s right, we’ll have nowhere to go.

      1. We need Donald Trump for 24 years and even more. This man has taken more crap from the democrats for absolutely no reason other than to fill their pockets, killing babies, and many other childish ways. Mr. Trump should receive much respect than he gets. GOD BLESS MR.TRUMP AND GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

          1. agreed, Barack Obama got the Prize FOR NOTHING ! President trump put together a Historical
            peace treaty between Israel and the UAE

        1. Amen brother!!!…..thanks for telling the truth!!!….President Trump is an exceptional and great President!!!……lots of people in America respects Mr. Trump and by the grace of God….Mr. Trump will win this race!!!

        2. He would not join the cabal to destroy the American people so they set out to destroy him. But God had other plans and it is all going to backfire on them!

        3. So true I live Australia our media outlets make fun of your president Trump i like your President Trump for life as President

      2. Please, get out there and vote! Let’s get PigLousy and her band of corrupt cohorts out of our hair for good.
        They are a bunch of socialist/communists mental midgets and we need to get them out of our government.
        go Trump 2020! MAGA !


    1. No what they are a bunch of socialist/communist I don’t buy their crap like this fellow veteran I have a mask with the American flag and the United States marines and I were with pride I fought I bleed and lost many friends I be dam if one little socialist/communist is going to tell me what to were or not to were that will trigger a reaction that they will not like.

      1. Very True Jose. I’m also a Viet-Nam Vet and proud of it. I’ll wear my Colors with PRIDE. My dad was in WW2 along with 3 uncles; I was in Nam along with an Uncle; my son was in Desert Storm and now my Grandson is in the Marines. Don’t screw with us or family, or you’ll have a butt full of lead. All these Commies ; liberals etc. that want to Defund the Police until they need them. I’m also a retired Police Sergeant .God Bless the U.S.A and God Bless President Trump .This is OUR COUNTRY. LOVE IT or PACK YOU BAGS and get out. I’m sure we’ll put you on a slow boat to N. Korea or China.

        1. Jerry-
          Fantastic response!!
          A vote for Donald J. Trump is a vote for America, our family, our freedom and liberty and our GOD-
          We’ve got this one chance to “Keep America Great” !!!
          Send the rest packin’ if you don’t like our country.

    2. Amen and they closed the food lion stores her in Jax. they all need to close after this .I hope the guy does not go back he already knows how they feel about our country.dont shop at food lion and they will close .

    3. Total BS to cave into BLM and people like that, if you don’t respect our country , flag and freedom than move to a socialist country and see how that works for you! There is not near the racism in this country that the Dems want you to believe, they are using the uneducated to help promote this & people like Al Sharpton that makes a living by stirring the pot! It’s not the police’s fault, stop breaking the law and you have nothing to worry about!! There are good & bad in every race & the good need not be thrown in with the bad!! God made us all equal but, as the saying goes “You Can’t Fix Stupid”!!

    4. More too this story
      The Democrats main $$ backer is , nazi billionaire 0le George S.
      Who pays for thugs to go in beat folks up , keep crap stirred , that’s why they want go after theses idiots rioting!

      1. Just wanted to clarify I was referring to the BLM rioters , people who are destroying history and property. God is in charge..

      2. George soros should be charged with treason,he and his cronies are the ones paying for civil unrest. He should be kicked out of this country.

          1. Right now Trump is not into punishment and is taking the abuse, lying, cheating, but…..
            Wait until he is reelected in a landslide. and definitely will be…. The worm will turn and he will drain that swamp

    5. If that grocery chain is offended by our country’s Flag, then go live in another country. I’m a U. S. Air Force Veteran and I for one will not promote shopping in Food Lion.

    6. When the decent and moral people speak out their voice wil be heard also. Speak truth and don’t hide. Wear a flag shirt or mask if you like. Speak out and don’t be silenced be the people who only want to destroy our country. We can make changes but not through fear and retreat from the anarchists.

    1. I would never shop at a grocery store that would not allow the American flag or any symbol of our country to be worn or just played their traitors and communist themselves or they are just plain out powereds this is not how you do things we will wear anything that has American flag on it be a mass shirt cap anyting and you can take your store and keep it because we will not shop at your stores anymore. You should be ashamed of yourself for being traitors and that’s what you are you have no backbone to stand up for your country yet you want to get filthy rich in it live a good life in it you’re just cowards will Food Lion and any other grocery store that does this I will never shop nor will my family or my friends and we will spread the word all over the place we don’t have to shop in your stores there other grocery stores that are brave and Patriot people that will stand for their country and for their president and for what they believe in in their freedom you or just a bunch of cowards so take your store and do whatever you want to with it they will be millions and millions of Americans that will stop shopping there.. we are true Americans..

      1. It is why all those wonderful actors and actresses didn’t leave the country when they said they would if Trump won. They make their money here so they stayed. Too bad we couldn’t make them honest and leave.

  2. Somebody offended ! Really ?
    Well, I’m offended that the Democrat Party has chosen Joe Biden to be the next President of the United States and of the United States all 50 of them. Joe Biden is retarded and needs to be placed in old folks home where he can tell old folks about his time in government and watch those old folks look at him in disbelief. Really Joe, you did what ????

    1. Shameful corporate pandering to ANTIFA and BLM terrorist groups. If all the corporations that are spewing that these groups are not political – the American people aren’t buying your BS !

      1. That’s right, boycott is the only thing we can do to these corporations who want to cave in to these thugs, like Colin Kaepernick and the BLM!

  3. Corporate America has got to reaize that the America-hating mob is not their customers. Anyone who is offended by the show of our flag has real problems. The message to corporate America is “Get Woke-Go Broke.”

      1. Food Lion as well as other large grocers are not American owned!!!! They have no loyality to America~~All they see is $$$$$$$$$$$$

      2. The only people that find the American flag offensive are those that want to destroy this country. Scary times have invaded our country and we need to stand up for our rights before we no longer have them.

  4. When is corporate America gonna realize this is America. United We Stand Divided We Fall. The haters of America need to leave and make their own country instead of trying to ruin ours.

  5. It is a shame that so many companies and businesses are pandering to those who hate living here in America.
    If they were living in another country and did this, say China for instance, we’d see no more of them! They do not realize that the freedoms that they are wanting to take away are the same freedoms that allow them to not have to do or say something they do not believe in. Social Justice? Only if you say and do what ‘they’ want. If you don’t, you get hurt. How is that Just? Apparently people who are going around rioting, hurting others in one way or another do not realize that they are tearing down their freedoms as well.
    Whatever happened to people can disagree without riots, damage, killing etc? Does that really accomplish anything? No, but they have not figured that out yet.
    A video gone viral of blm grp disrupting and damaging an eatery in New York and threatening customers because they would not bow down to what they wanted was outrageous. What does that change? It only makes things worse and things like this where companies and businesses bow down to such stupidity need to rethink what they stand for and where they stand. Our society has become so warped by all of this stupidity and rioting etc. there is no normal any more. Think of what your children and grand children are having to grow up with? Where is there freedom to live a happy and non-threatened life? And don’t give me that line of how black people are persecuted. My mother taught me, if you live straight and honest and work hard you can and will accomplish anything you want. I have seen that demonstrated by many who come from ‘black’ neighborhoods as well as white, Hispanic and Asian communities.
    It is up to the individual to make a better life for themselves. Not someone make it for them. Work hard, be honest, and do what you need to do to support yourself and your family and you will find, it works every time, no matter who you are. And the vet who quit his job because he could not wear the mask was right. That man and others fought to keep this country free and people spit on that all the time. If it were not for men and women like him, Hitler would have won the way and your freedoms… well, they would not be freedoms right now.

    1. Well said. It’s time for all good people to stand-up with police against antifa, blm, looters, and destroyers. All weren’t bad at first. Look at them now. Police will sort out their bad ones as they should. Present situations with blm and antifa sure isn’t better than we had before.
      God Bless America

      1. felons are one of the constituent groups of the demoncrat party. antifa and blm are the militant wings of the party as the ku klux klan used to be. they are attacking the enemies of the demoncrats. the store owners are what the demoncrats call “the petite bourgeoisie” and socialists of all stripes have unmitigated scorn for them. they attack christians and christian churches precisely because they have a God other than the state. they have killed and severely assaulted innocent bystanders who dared record what they are doing. recently in portland, i believe, a peaceful protester attempted to throw a molotov cocktail at a police officer. the hand of an angel deflected the incendiary and it burned a fellow protester instead. the protester in question got a taste of what they might look forward to in the afterlife.

  6. They want Americans money but didn’t allow the flag. Why don’t they leave the country. Tired of the LEFTIST liberal garbage. If you disrespect the flag and the national anthem then no respect for you. You are to be despised.

  7. Hey , I like Food Lion , I (we ) shop at Food Lion . We know the people at our local store , and they are good people . To add to that statement , these folks are white , black and Asian . Like’m all . I kinda see how Food Lion’s between a rock and a hard spot . They changed their policy , good for them . Maybe !!!!! Now , look for every other group and/ or organization to jump in the water . Good luck Food Lion , we’ll see you soon .

  8. As a Havelock resident, I am so proud of everyone who took the time to show their concern for this issue. We stood up for our Flag & against hollow, corporate virtue signaling. We epitomized the meaning “Peaceful Protest“ and won a victory for all proud Americans. A big thank you to Food Lion for listening to our concerns & reversing a bad policy. #SupportFoodLion

  9. How great to see all these statements that show there are still many principled individuals left in this country . All like-minded people need to BOYCOTT THE NBA & NFL for 3 to 5 years and bring them to their arrogant knees . This is the only way to get these pandering , enabling organizations and corporations to reform their ways . To Food Lion’s credit , they examined their policy and changed it .

  10. Stop shopping at LION markets across the US, they are Anti-American and become a Socialist store, and yes I am an American citizen born and raised and served this country in the Military. These so-called protestors will not serve for they do not have the guts it takes to defend American but rather they would shot an UNARMED Citizen to death. The reason for that, thee moronic terrorists (aka peaceable protestors) do not want someone to shoot back at them and kill them. They are total SICK S.O.B. COWARDS and all belong to a pack of RABID DOGS that needs to be put down.

  11. You’re right! Trump 4 more years will solve most problems and maybe just take the “rights” away from folks who don’t like being here and just make trouble for those who do and obey the Law!

  12. appalled by another place falling to this nonsense of the liberals against America….we are not perfect but most of that comes from those on the left that are totally disregarding our constitutional rights and following it…if I lived in NC I wouldn’t be going to a LION GROCERY that is for sure….you don’t like America go elsewhere and see what you get there…

  13. America Love It Or Leave It No One Is Making These Nuts Stay Here Everyone Vote Get The House Back Keep The Senate Stand Up And Be Counted Love This Country

  14. I agree with what everyone says about Food Lion and their actions which caused the veteran to quit. I was happy that they quickly reversed their stand and now allow the countries flag that allows them the freedom of speech to say the BS that they told the Veteran in the first place. Even though it is a large corporation they do employee good local folks, and they have seen the light.

    Now we need to concentrate our efforts in getting our President to win another four years. If we see something shady going on at any of the voting booths, or the handling of mail in ballots we need to report it asap, and put it on your media outlet. Lets get Donald Trump 4 more years and get rid of all this BS propaganda BLM, Antifa!!!!! God Bless Trump and America.

  15. I agree with Mike we need to boycott the NBA & NFL. I am a veteran that served in Korea and find these athlete’s need to concentrate on sports not politics. You don’t bite the hand that feeds, apparently they have forgotten that fan support is what provides the finances that helps pay their lucrative contracts. Being retired and living on a fixed income find it very difficult if not impossible to attend a professional sporting event. I am sure their are millions of Americans that fell the same way. It may be time to send a message to these overpaid athletics that God and Country is their bread and butter and they need to show respect for both.

  16. Others come here. They don’t respect us or our country, but they don’t turn down our money. I will not comply to someone elses way of life. If they don’t like it here, they can leave. Whores say they do things that they don’t like, because the money is good.

  17. I am a 26 year veteran and I’m extremely offended by the Marxist BLM logos. I will not do business with any business displaying the BLM garbage or that allows it on their premises. All Americans should boycott any business that allows that anti American symbol on their premises. COME ON AMERICANS – STAND UP AND BE COUNTED!!

    1. Dennis, I am a 73 yr old veteran and i agree 100% with you. I dont like blm or antifa they should be ran out of our country forever.

  18. I am so encouraged for our country when I see comments like these from Good Americans! Food Lion will never recover from their lack of loyalty to the American Flag! I know they changed their policy, but like so many other ‘woke’ companies pandering to the radical left, they won’t survive the fall out! Good! Stand up for America or GET OUT of it! Americans First and Forever! TRUMP 2020!

  19. I wonder what would happen if an employee wore a BLM or Antifa mask. Do you think they would have been asked to remove it …. I don’t think so. These businesses are down on their knees apoligizing to the left for everything and anything.If you don’t like our flag,then pack your bags and get the hell out of this country.
    Let me know,I’ll drive you to to the airport.

  20. Why is it that one person can change a company’s policy by just making a comment; minorities via Political Correctness override the system. I don’t remember PC before Obama.

  21. Brave men and women have fought and died for the freedom we are blessed with in this country. We need to thank them for their service not disrespect them. Anyone who does not love America should leave. The American flag is a symbol of our great country and the precious people who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep us free. We need to always thank God for our military , their service and dedication to the American people and for what they stand for. God bless America and may we always respect the American flag.

  22. Well said. It’s time for all good people to stand-up with police against antifa, blm, looters, and destroyers. All weren’t bad at first. Look at them now. Police will sort out their bad ones as they should. Present situations with blm and antifa sure isn’t better than we had before.
    God Bless America

  23. Easy solution…boycott Food Lion…and fire the Food Lion manager. Let him find a job elsewhere. And THANK YOU for the gentleman who stood up to this madness. I wonder if CNN will run a piece on this. Thank you also to ALL of our veterans who stand for our flag and our country.

  24. Everyone of these people that disrespect the American flag should be put on a large boat in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and then we should sink it

  25. Why do we have to appease these clowns,that flag has the blood of our fighting man that have defended our home land.If they don’t like it than get out.

  26. Banning or destroying American flag in any way is punishable against the law crime. We cherish our flag and if someone dosnt like it , there is a door out.

  27. Unless the company is providing specific masks for all to wear then they cannot say and American flag mask is wrong unless everyone has to wear a plain mask.

  28. If someone is offended by the flag, expell that person from the country or put them in jai; they are probably paranoid psychotic anti-American.

  29. it is alright to sell spoiled food but you tell us what mask we can wear everyone to wear trump mask going into store do not buy anything and then leave

  30. I will not allow ANYONE to tell me what I can say,think,or display,the left is trying to control everything and I won’t be a part of it!!

  31. ive said all along they need to stop blm because all lives matter if you watch the news during protest 80%are white during riots and looting 95%are blacks the dems think its going to help them i think americans see thru them i would send ilhan and aoc to anywhere that would have them

  32. I sometimes get the feeling that a group of idiot leftists and their puppet politicians sit around trying to think up the most absurd things they can protest, and giggle as they foist it off on gullible companies and politicians to implement. God save us and our country. Kudos to the gentleman for standing up for his rights and beliefs, and mine.

  33. This comment is directed to William, F. Barnes: I agree with all your sentiments EXCEPT that about President Trump. If Mr. Trump sends in the Federal troops in violation of the constitution, that would make him no better than the unlawful idiots causing all the problems. I always found “hitting them in the pocketbook” solves a lot of problems. Legally take away Federal funding from the offending cities/states and you’ll be amazed how quickly they (the filthy, dirty politicians) will come around. God Bless America!

  34. Everyone could simply say they are part of BLM and protesting and burn Food Lion to the ground! I would completely understand!

  35. I bet “Food Lion” would allow face masks that say, “Impeach Trump” printed on them. This type of crap can/will only hurt the super-market chain. We all have the right to free speech. Either We accept and honor that or declare NOTHING to be said or advertised politically or solicited!!!

  36. I would like to address the dems just remember what your party leaders have become in the last 20years and I would for the sake of our great country vote for the president Donald trump remember this if he loses the election you will have to live under the rule of the left god help us if this happens.the people of this country have to stick together

  37. Being NC, the complaint probably came from some NY/NJ kike who left their liberal shit hole and are now fucking up red states. Either that or some illegal beaner who should get a visit from La Migra! The only reason Food Lion backed down was not only sales loss, it was also a MASSIVE lawsuit and EEOC verdict, especially with a senior citizen veteran.

  38. Screw Food Lion, an American Company, where you cant wear an American FLAG of the United States of America.
    boycott this piece of shit company, go to China . You Suck FOOD LION

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