Police and lawmakers in Texas were outraged on Tuesday after discovering “whites only” stickers were plastered over small business in the East Austin area.
The stickers were posted overnight on bakery, bicycle, and clothing stores during the South by Southwest Festival, reports the Austin American Statesman. The stickers were noticed by business owners and customers throughout Wednesday morning, leaving both parties confused and offended.
Out of the six places targeted, several were owned by African-Americans.
“Maximum of 5 colored customers/colored BOH staff accepted,” the stickers stated, referring to the “back of house” operations at a restaurant. The stickers also feature a City of Austin logo and state that the message is “sponsored by the City of Austin Contemporary Partition and Restoration Program.”
Some of the stickers began to spread throughout social media, as customers expressed their outrage:
Austin Mayor Steve Adler called the stickers appalling. Rare Trends, a store in Austin, reposted the photo above and confirmed they had nothing to do with the stickers. When asked why it wasn’t taken down quickly, a manager says a window display blocked the sticker, so the employees didn’t notice until they received complaints from customers.
Sugar Mama’s, one of the businesses targeted, called the incident a hate crime. The bakery, which frequently displays images of their tasty treats, also posts images of the largely diverse clientele.
Nelson Linder, president of Austin’s NAACP chapter, says they will work closely with the police to find the culprits.