A Michigan Bed and Breakfast made the decision to remove a Norwegian flag as complainants mistook the red, white, and blue cross for the scrutinized Confederate flag as it and other Confederate symbols are purged from the United States.
Owners of the Nordic Pineapple Bed and Breakfast in St. John’s, Michigan claimed to have received at least a dozen complaints for their Norwegian flag flying outside the Civil War Era mansion.
Greg and Kjersten Offenecker said they had received “at least a dozen hateful emails” as well as up to twice as many passing comments confusing the Norwegian cross with the symbol for the Confederacy, according to The New York Post.
Offenecker clarified that the messages about the flag are not simple reminders or queries, but aggressive in nature, and that these message intensified during the riots and civil unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
“What we’re getting is so much more negative now,” she said, according to Fox47. “It’s not just, ‘hey you’re flying the Confederate flag.’ It’s, ‘you should be ashamed to fly the Confederate flag. You’re a bigot because you fly the Confederate flag.‘”
Despite growing up with the flag and being able to make a clear distinction between the two, the owners were horrified to discover that many of the locals mistook the flag for a symbol with racially-loaded connotations.
“They are the same color, but there are no stars on the Norwegian flag, and the Confederate flag is a big ‘x’ and the Norwegian flag is part of the Nordic countries, they’re all crosses,” Offenecker remarked.
The couple believed that the Norwegian flag may have lost potential clients in the confusion, despite the couple simply trying to show off their heritage.
“We started to have this concern that it was deterring people away from coming to our bed and breakfast,” Offenecker said. “That they would see it and make this judgement.”
The couple wrote a Facebook post addressing the situation.
The couple also revealed that they received a lot of support after the misunderstanding became public and they already took the flag down amid the confusion.