Religion

Woman Banned From Mall Over Controversial Sign (Photo)

| by Jared Keever

A Tennessee woman says she was fired from her job at a Chattanooga department store after making comments about Islam in the wake of the high-profile shootings last month that left five servicemen dead. 

“I made a comment specifically towards the terrorist Mohammad and his family by stating that he was a piece of sh-- scum, and his family was too for killing our men,” Heidi Grubbs told WDEF News recently. “And then I was basically fired for the comment because I refused to apologize for it.”

Grubbs was referring to Mohammad Abdulazeez who killed four Marines and a sailor last month at a Navy Reserve center in Chattanooga, before himself being shot dead by law enforcement officers. 

Grubbs said the comment, and her strong unapologetic stance, cost her her job at Belk department store at the Northgate Mall.

But a copy of her termination notice, that she provided to Examiner.com, suggests there might be more to the story than just the single comment. 

“Heidi, You have seriously violated our policy which clearly prohibits harassments of our associates and customers for their religious affiliations and their national origin by displaying your signs on our parking lot and sending your disparaging texts to our associates,” the termination notice reads. “What you have done is highly offensive and intolerable. For that reason you are being terminated immediately.”

Grubbs did not mention the text messages referenced in the termination notice, but she certainly doesn’t deny that she left signs displayed in her car windows. 

“The original sign on my car states that, I will sh-- on your Koran, I'll spit in the face of your Mohammad, and that Islam is a lie,” she told WDEF.

She provided photographs of other signs to Examiner.com. “I eat bacon,” reads one. “I AM NOT scared of the muslim …. Brotherhood in Chattanooga, TN!” reads another. 

The signs, it seems, cost her more than her job.

“Two officers in the loss prevention office told me I was to be banned from all properties of CBL because of a sign that I have on my car,” she told WDEF.

CBL is the management company that operates six shopping malls in the Chattanooga area. 

Grubbs told WDEF she was forced to sign legal documents acknowledging her ban from all CBL properties for one year. 

CBL Marketing Director Catherine Wells confirmed the ban with WDEF.

“It's more to do with the vulgar language that was used,” Wells said. “It's not anything to do with her personal beliefs.”

But Grubbs told Examiner.com that “what happened to our soldiers” was far worse than any hurt her comments or signs could have inflicted. 

Grubbs said she believes the firing and the ban are infringements on her First Amendment right to free speech and plans to take legal action if she can find an attorney to take the case. 

“As a whole, we should unite to protect our freedoms in America, our constitution and rights of speech,” she told WDEF. “And that's what I'm doing.”

Sources: WDEF News, Examiner.com / Photo Credit: Heidi Grubbs via Examiner.com