SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — Multiple northeastern Ohio businesses have cut ties with Cicogna Electric and Sign Company after a Facebook rant by owner Frank Cicogna circulated on social media about the George Floyd case in Minneapolis.
Floyd, a black man, was killed in police custody on Memorial Day. His death caused national outrage after video circulated showing a white police officer kneeling on Floyd's neck as he screamed he couldn’t breathe.
"Give that Minnesota officer a god damn RAISE!!!" Cicogna said in a Facebook post. "Racist my ass!!! A thief deserves to die!!" he added later.
"You loot we shoot!!" Cicogna said in another comment. He also used a racial slur in a follow-up comment.
Since Floyd's death, there have been protests against police brutality and racial injustice across the country.
Ashtabula County resident Christina White said she saw Cicogna's social media posts May 29. She said she shared them on Facebook and Twitter.
"I was outraged by the racist, hate-filled comments and recognized his name as a local businessman," White said via email. "I looked up his company information and website and saw how many local businesses were associated with him and started emailing them about my concerns."
Cicogna did not return requests for comment. His company’s Facebook page said it was down for maintenance.
White said about 20 businesses have responded to her concerns about Cigogna’s comments.
"I wanted to shed light on racism in our community," White said."I was appalled and outraged that a CEO of a business felt so comfortable making such racist and hateful statements."
A number of businesses in Ashtabula County and elsewhere have cut ties with Cicogna's business.
“We are appalled by these comments and can confirm his views are not reflective of Planet Fitness and do not align with the values and beliefs of our company," said McCall Gosselin, Planet Fitness spokeswoman. "As a result of this incident, we are in the process of working with our franchisees to sever all ties with this local vendor.”
Ashtabula County Medical Center and University Hospitals both announced that they were severing ties with Cicogna Electric and Sign via Twitter.
University Hospitals was one of the first to comment on the controversy, on May 31.
"Cicogna Signs does contract work for us and is not a formal partner," the hospital system announced via tweet. "However, we are in the process of terminating our relationship with the company."
Car dealership Byrider.com sent a tweet on June 1, condemning Cicogna's remarks.
"The owner of Cicogna Electric and Sign does not reflect the values of our company," the tweet said. "We will be ending any ongoing business with his company and will not be contracting with them moving forward in ANY capacity."
ACMC announced June 2 on Twitter that it would no longer be working with Cicogna.
"ACMC Healthcare System has been committed to contracting with local companies whenever possible to support our county's economy," the company announced in a tweet. "We expect those companies to uphold our values. After becoming aware of recent events, we are immediately discontinuing the use of Cicogna Signs."