A charming story from Maine, about a lingerie shop that sought to attract attention by featuring live models in its window:
AUGUSTA -- Phone harassment of a Spellbound lingerie model has led the shop's owner to end live displays and consider relocating.
On Thursday, shop owner Felicia Stockford encouraged her six models to end the display after learning one of them, 21-year-old Nikki Hunt, received a series of disturbing calls on her cell phone....
Hunt's first brush with aggressive, personal attacks came the same day a group of about six people calling themselves Christians Lovingly Advocating Decency [CLAD] protested in front of the store during Valentine's Day weekend. That day, an off-duty deputy also reported seeing a man in his early 20s slashing the front tires of Hunt's parked car....
Since then, Hunt ... said she's received at least two violent, sexual threats on her cell phone -- a number that had to have been gained by someone close to her....
Stockford, who opened her Water Street shop last spring, was first chastised for her marketing scheme in December by the Christian Civic League of Maine....
The Maine blog Tor's Rants provides some of the backstory. It seems that Ms. Stockford, who maintains a blog promoting her business, mentioned one day in January that some of her models were having their pictures taken topless at the shop. Michael Hein of the Christian Civic League called the cops (who determined that the photos had been taken well out of sight of passersby on the street before the store opened for business). After this act of harassment, Hein led the CLAD protest a couple of weeks later; in addition, the CCL attacked Stockford and her shop in vile terms in its online newsletter. January 30:
It is not at all clear if Stockford is interested more in money, as some suggest, or if she is interested in lewdness for its own sake, which is much more likely the case.
The behavior of the owner Felicia Stockford has gone from disgraceful, to repugnant, and now can only be called abominable, in the true and proper sense of that word. Her online ravings and rantings have long since left the realm of human sexuality, and now are exploring a darker side of mankind better left to priests, well-trained medical professionals, and yes, even exorcists. It is simply impossible to describe her writings here.
(On that score, you be the judge.)
Then came the harassing phone calls and the tire-slashings and Stockford's decision to end the live modeling and consider selling the Augusta shop. The CCL's Hein now has the unmitigated gall to suggest that the criminal and violent behavior was all her fault:
Hein, who is a member of the League's Board of Directors, had forwarded the League emails from former police officers who said it was almost a certainty that the situation at Spellbound would encourage criminal behavior by troubled individuals -- and that is exactly what happened. One of the models received threatening phone calls from an anonymous phone caller. Stockford then correctly concluded that it wasn't safe for the models to be in the window.
Some in the press openly encouraged Stockford's behavior, despite the warnings of the dangers involved....
This toxic mix of moralistic self-righteousness, snark, and harassment is a CCL stock-in-trade. Back in 2004 we had this from another CCLer:
... the head of the Christian Civic League of Maine has issued a statement that questions whether Gov. John Baldacci has "one of these imaginary gay genes."
The remark was in a news release that Michael Heath put out Wednesday after Baldacci reiterated his intention to submit a gay-rights bill to the Legislature next year.
...Heath made a short-lived attempt in March to solicit tips on the league's Web site about the sexual orientation of state legislators and other Maine officials. That created a bipartisan furor at the State House, prompting Heath to apologize....
Islamicist moral guardians torch liquor stores and harass unveiled women. This is the U.S. version.