LIVERMORE (CBS SF) — The Executive Director of the California Farmers’ Markets Association issued an apology Wednesday in the wake of a viral video that showed the director berating a Livermore Farmers’ Market vendor over LGTBQ pride flags he had been passing out.
The apology comes after 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 on Sunday, June 7, 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.
Operation of the Livermore Farmers’ Market has been suspended after the CFMA resigned Tuesday.
In the apology issued on Wednesday that was signed by Hayden on behalf of the CFMA, she said the group regretted “the unfortunate incident.”
“While we were focused on enforcing the market’s rules, we neglected to see the bigger picture Dan was expressing with his Pride flags. The LGBTQ+ community deserves a tolerant environment to express and celebrate their
identity,” Hayden’s statement read. “We should not have allowed the escalation of the conversation to take place and we apologize for the inaccurate implications that were made. CFMA recognizes that the Pride flag and the LGBTQ+ community that what it represents is not a political ideology.”
Hayden went on to say that the CFMA “values the LGBTQ+ Community.”
“My actions on June 7 offended the LGBTQ community which was definitely not my intention and for that I am very sorry,” said Hayden.
On Tuesday, 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.