CHICO (CBS13) – A Northern California business owner says her clothing store’s future is in jeopardy after she put up a billboard depicting President Trump as a Nazi sympathizer.
“Today’s been challenging,” Rouse and Rebel clothing store owner Nicole Lewis said.
Lewis is a small business owner in a big billboard battle. Her billboard was ripped down by the media company she rents space from.
It had shown Donald Trump, the 45th president, with the number 45 written in a style similar to the Nazi swastika.
“Yeah it’s very controversial, yes, oh yes,” Lewis said.
Lewis says she chose to put up the message as a political protest and put her business name on it so people would know who paid for it.
“I decided, you know what, I’m gonna use this platform, and I decided to put my name on it because … why hide?” Lewis said. “I’m gonna stand behind my beliefs. I’m gonna stand behind my actions.”
Stott Outdoor Media did not return our calls, but a spokesperson told Newsweek magazine they took the billboard down because “people misinterpreted the billboard and who the speaker was.”
Chico police are doing extra patrols around Lewis’s store after employees have reported death threats.
“I just have been shaky, lots of anxiety over the threats and the negative attention that it’s received,” Lewis said.
The company’s Yelp page is also being monitored after dozens of new negative posts about the business.
“They just want to ruin my business,” Lewis said. “My moral to the story is I think that just because you’re a business owner doesn’t mean that you don’t get to stand behind your beliefs.”
Lewis says she’ll be suing the company that took down her billboard. She says she’s hired an attorney to file a lawsuit for violating her civil rights.