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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Top Stories > General

Flags cause furor in Callicoon

Jun 29, 2020

By Jeanne Sager - reporter/photographer

CALLICOON — Krissy Smith doesn't know how to prove a negative. And yet for weeks now, that's exactly what the Callicoon Theater has been trying to do.
Rumors have been spreading around the small hamlet of Callicoon that Smith, a Callicoon Center resident, was standing against the hanging of the American flag on local businesses. Some posts on social media have claimed a petition had been started to keep the flag out of town. Others claimed people were turned away from the business for wearing flags on their apparel — despite the fact that the theater has been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and thus wasn't in a place to turn anyone away, regardless of their chosen outfit.
The rumors reached fever pitch on Facebook this past weekend, with a post shared hundreds of times claiming the theater owner has been “quite vocal on the subject removing the flag” (sic).

The problem?
As Smith told the Democrat, the allegations aren't true.
“I think the flag is pretty. I think it would cheer up the town. I think it stood against the Nazis. I think it stood against British tyranny,” she said. “I'm very much about the flag. I'm very much about keeping it up.”
Nicole Vallance, president of the Callicoon Business Association (CBA), also told the Democrat that Smith has made no moves to ban the flag.
In fact, when CBA member Gina Fenton proposed fundraising around town to get flags hung up in July, the measure passed unanimously — with Smith voting in support of the flag initiative.
What's more, Vallance said, the CBA has received no petitions or letters of any sort from any member calling for flags to be banned or removed. The CBA is still discussing how long the flags will be hung — whether it will be for the month of July or extended until Labor Day — but that matter is subject to a vote of the membership and has nothing to do with Smith herself.
For Smith, the rumors have been hurtful on a personal and professional level, especially as she's been open and available to chat with anyone who wanted to ask about her feelings on the flag. As she posted on the Callicoon Theater Facebook page, “The theater has been closed for over 100 days due to COVID-19. It's extremely likely, due to these rumors, that we have lost many customers during this time. Sadly, we are all living in a time when online bullying is the norm and tensions are at an alltime high. It's doubly sad, because in a small community you can always just reach out to a business owner directly to find out if something is true. Some of you have done this and we are very, very grateful.”

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