This story is courtesy of our sister station KOIN in Portland, Ore.
MCMINNVILLE, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A pair of insensitive social media posts from an employee of McMinnville’s Goodwill, followed by an equally heavy-handed response from Goodwill Industries’ Twitter account, created a groundswell of criticism against the company and its employee on Thursday.
The initial tweets, sent from the now-protected account @jordyyynicole, were critical of a breastfeeding mother in line at the McMinnville store.
The next morning, when alerted to the Goodwill employee’s posts, @goodwillhelp, the national chain’s Twitter account available for help and questions, supported the McMinnville employee.
Goodwill has been in damage control ever since, apologizing for both accounts and opting to suspend @jordyyynicole. The company has been in hot water before over breastfeeding, drawing ire in Wisconsin in 2012 for similar behavior.
It should be stated that Goodwill’s official stance fully supports a woman’s right to breastfeed in public.
According to a Facebook event created in response to the offensive tweets, nearly 100 breastfeeding mothers are expected to protest Goodwill at the McMinnville store on Friday with a “nurse-in.” Company representatives said Thursday that the store will welcome any mother intending to protest, with employees even providing refreshments.
“Finding out this employee did this, [the nursing mother] was cyberbullied,” concerned mother Kelly Messerzy said. “This is why we’re so upset.”
Emma Ingram, who says she was the nursing mother at the center of the controversy, said she never thought a trip to her local Goodwill would lead to an online firestorm.
“I think people are offended because breasts are sexualized in our society,” Ingram told KOIN 6 News. “[@jordyyynicole] should educate herself about nursing in public … It’s not illegal.”
Though the laws vary by state, the overwhelming majority allow breastfeeding in public.
Forty-six states, including Oregon, plus the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location.