The Fine Fellows Creamery ice cream shop in Cape May, N.J., was vandalized for displaying rainbow flags during Pride Month and the owners faced harassment.
The store is owned by a gay couple, Dustin Piccolo and his husband David Kinsey.
According to the owners, the large and smaller rainbow flags they put up this year were torn down and stolen, as was a small rainbow flag sticker on their shop’s front door. This has been going on for years during every Pride Month.
“This year we celebrated pride month with more color, we added the flag where our open sign hung. We also put smaller flags in our window boxes among the American flags we always have out. Within days all pride flags were taken. People have been heard screaming (expletive) at us at night while we are open with customers and employees present. This week we come to open the shop and find once again our sticker flag torn off the window,” Piccolo told 6ABC.
The Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office said they are investigating and taking it seriously.
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In 2018, the FBI reported a 17 percent year-over-year increase in federal hate crimes across the U.S., the third consecutive yearly rise and the largest jump in federally reported hate crimes since the September 11 attacks. Victims targeted due to their sexual orientation or gender identity comprised 1,470, or nearly 17 percent, of all victims.
Although the hate was disheartening for the couple, they said they have received support and love from the community for their New Jersey ice cream.
“The sheer volume of love and support was amazing. Outpouring of kindness and acceptance from total strangers has filled our hearts with joy,” their post read. “…We are both beyond thankful. We love our community. It’s often very, very challenging to continue in adversity. We don’t scare easy and with your continued love and support we will be here for a very long time,” the couple commented to local news.