Virginia Beach residents offended by flier they say is racially-offensive

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Some families say they’ve received what they believe to be a racially charged flier on their doorsteps.

“I think it was very inappropriate,” said Victor Stith. “And for them to plaster it throughout the entire neighborhood, you know it was very insensitive to other ethnic groups.”

In large letters, the anonymous flier reads: “Take back your community – Stop the Royal Farms Gas Station.” Beneath, in smaller print, it says: “Good chicken = Bad neighbors.”

Royal Farms is a chain that prides itself on “world-famous chicken.” Stith believes the flier is playing into an offensive stereotype.

“It’s unacceptable,” said neighbor Chris Brown. “It’s 2016.”

Brown and his wife, Vivian, contacted 10 On Your Side after coming home to the flier at their Bizzone Circle property on Thursday. The neighborhood is about a half mile from where a Royal Farms could be coming.

The flier suggests that people should contact city leaders, because the business could lead to “increased traffic” and “increased crime.”

“It kind of makes you feel unsafe that someone could bring something like that to your door,” Stith said. “Even though it’s just literature, the person that’s handing off that literature apparently has something in their heart that would make me feel unsafe for myself and my family.”

“Whoever does this, they need to stop,” Brown said. “This is not right.”

Mayor Will Sessoms and Councilman Robert Dyer, who were both named in the flier, responded with a statement Friday, which reads in full:

We have tremendous respect for differing opinions and the City of Virginia Beach has processes in place to help ensure we get input from residents about potential development projects. That’s why it is especially disturbing to learn that someone has distributed flyers that contain insensitive and offensive comments opposing the construction of a Royal Farms convenience store and gas station on Centerville Turnpike. To make matters worse, the flyer gives the impression that we are the authors, which couldn’t be furthest from the truth.

Even when we disagree or are attempting to gain support for a particular position, we must remain civil and considerate. Using scare tactics and offensive stereotypes to promote a personal agenda is neither. Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of our neighbors feel the same way and also object to the content on the flyer.”

William D. Sessoms, Jr., Mayor, and Robert Dyer, City Council representative, Centerville