LIVERMORE (CBS SF) — Operation of the Livermore Farmers’ Market has been suspended after the market’s management group resigned Tuesday morning in the wake of a viral video that shows a manager berating a vendor over LGTBQ pride flags he had been passing out.
The City of Livermore said the farmers’ market would not operate Thursday or Sunday after the California Farmers’ Markets Association ended its association with the market Tuesday. Livermore Downtown Inc. said it was looking for a new management group.
The moves followed the public outcry over the video showing CFMA Executive Director Gail Hayden ordering Dan Floyd to stop handing out the pride flags at his Dan Good Cookies booth.
Floyd and Livermore Pride Executive Director Amy Pannu said they were offering the rainbow-striped pride flag to their customers in recognition of June as Pride Month in honor of the LGBTQ+ community.
In the three-minute cellphone video, Hayden is seen admonishing Floyd about the flag giveaway, claiming it was against the rules of the farmers’ market.
“You need to go read the rules, read the section about cooperating with market management, and I will suspend you,” said Hayden. “My job is to run the market, not to satisfy your political point of view and you can do your political point of view anytime you want to, you can come stand on this corner another time.”
Floyd said to his knowledge, the rules only ban fliers or petitions from being distributed at his booth at the Livermore Farmers’ Market.”
“Considering that she called passing out the flag a political activity, which is most definitely is not, and it’s tied to my identity, it definitely felt like there was some kind of issue there,” said Floyd.
Hayden told KPIX 5 the matter is a misunderstanding.
“I didn’t really mean political, I meant in the sense that it’s not food, it’s in another category, it’s the same as when animal cruelty people, factory farming, people against foie gras. Every market has 10 to 20 things that people argue about,” said Hayden.
Hayden told KPIX 5 the market has a designated free speech zone where Dan was free to pass out rainbow flags.
“It had nothing to do with the topic of the flag, it had to do with the flag itself and my concerns of the liability of it – when they were handing them out to children and they were fencing with them,” she added.
Before CFMA ended its management of the farmers’ market, Livermore Pride said the incident was “a targeted verbal attack against LGBTQ+ community members” and called on the community to urge the city of Livermore to end its contract with CFMA.
“The hostility toward both Dan and Amy over something as simple as a small free flag being handed out optionally to Market consumers suggests that they were targeted because they were representing the LGBTQ+ community. Nothing else explains the outright vitriol and weighted language used in this recording,” said Livermore Pride in a statement. “This incident is not about the existence (of any) of rules and regulations, but rather about a targeted verbal attack against LGBTQ+ community members justified by invoking purported rules and regulations. This is not about being ‘politically correct,’ but rather engaging LGBTQ+ community members with common decency, courtesy, and respect.”
Floyd says he’s most rattled by how she treated him in public and said he decided not to return to the Livermore Farmers’ Market. He’ll instead open up his store to sell cookies all day on Sunday.