A mother is alleging that she was a victim of breastfeeding discrimination at the Daytona Beach Flea Market. According to News Jax 4, Jolene Gregory rented a booth at the flea market on Friday, February 19. She’d taken her 6-month-old daughter with her for the day, and of course, her baby needed to be fed throughout the day, So Gregory did what most breastfeeding mothers do. She fed her daughter while sitting at the booth.
The day was progressed as expected until things took an awkward turn for the worse when Gregory was approached by management. The manager told her a number of complaints had been received and shoppers were uncomfortable with her breastfeeding in public. Although Gregory defended herself and reminded the manager that breastfeeding is legal, her response reportedly fell on deaf ears because he abruptly turned and walked away. Gregory left on Friday, and returned Saturday to rent the same booth. But to her shock and dismay, her request was denied.
During an interview, she shared her reaction to the seemingly disheartening denial. “I felt like she was appeasing her monthly renters by not renting me a booth which in turn was discriminating against breastfeeding and my rights as a mother,” she said.
Although management reportedly insisted several people complained of Gregory’s breastfeeding, many shoppers have also reacted to the controversial situation and they believe the frustrated mom was treated unfairly. Since the incident has been made public, Daytona Beach Flea Market has responded to the incident, according to WKMG. The flea market manager insists none of the complaints were related to breastfeeding. In fact, the flea market alleges that Gregory was the problem.
Here’s an excerpt from the statement released by the Daytona Beach Flea Market.
“Jolene Gregory rented a booth on Friday, February 19th. Two vendors near Ms. Gregory’s booth called market management to voice concern regarding Ms. Gregory’s loud behavior and use of graphic language. They felt her loud behavior was affecting their business by driving customers off. Ms. Gregory also lodged a complaint about a neighboring vendor smoking near her booth. Ms Gregory’s booth on Friday is one that borders the vendor access road, where smoking is permitted.”
“In situations where there is an obvious conflict between vendors, the market does its best to solve these issues. Many times, that does involve offering alternate spaces to daily vendors. It is no one’s best interest to be in or witness altercations.”
The flea market also claims Gregory was offered a different booth in any other spot in the flea market, but she reportedly declined because she desired the prime location she’d reserved the previous day. In conclusion, the flea market reiterated the importance of mothers’ rights and breastfeeding. “The Daytona Flea & Farmer’s Market, in no way, would infringe on the rights of mothers who are breastfeeding.”
Despite the statement, Gregory still insists the flea market has only turned the tables to dissociate themselves from any form of discrimination. But she adamantly insists breastfeeding is the reason why she was asked to leave. Public breastfeeding continues to be a highly debated topic across the world. While many mothers embrace and encourage public breastfeeding, there are others who find it downright revolting and feel it should be considered a private, intimate practice and not something that is done so casually.
Like the latest Daytona flea market debacle, there have been many incidents where mothers have made headlines for breastfeeding discrimination despite laws deeming it legal to do so. Although it’s human nature, some people and businesses find it offensive.
What do you think when you see a mother breastfeeding in public? Are you offended by it? Share your thoughts.
[Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images]