LIVERMORE, Calif. - A vendor at an East Bay farmer’s market plans to no longer do business there after management told him to stop passing out pride flags.
Dan Floyd is part of the LGBTQ community in Livermore and owns Dan Good Cookies.
He said he didn't have problems distributing rainbow flags for pride month last year.
He distributes pride flags at his store and at the city's farmer’s market on Sundays where he’s a vendor. However, given an encounter with new market management earlier this month, he doesn't plan to be back.
“It was definitely the worst experience I’ve had in Livermore,” said Floyd. “Unfortunately because our community is so accepting.”
Cell phone video captures an altercation between Floyd and Gail Hayden, the executive director of the California Farmer’s Market Association who manages the market. She tells Floyd passing out pride flags from his booth violates the vendor agreement.
“You need to go read the rules and read the section about cooperating with market management,” said Hayden in the video. “The mission of the market is not your political point of view. The mission of the market is for farmers. You are in a different rights situation because you are not in ag.”
Amy Pannu, Livermore Pride executive director, captured the dispute.
“It’s rather ironic that we were met with so much vitriol over something so simple,” said Pannu. “That's not a political issue. This is a human rights issue.”
“It was brought to the attention of the managers that there were kids fencing with these flags and it was getting kind of rough,” said Hayden in a follow-up interview with KTVU.
Hayden said safety and liability concerns were among her reasons and the market is for food not free speech. She’s a designated area for free speech.
“We are neutral on everything,” said Hayden. “There’s just a place for each activity within the market. I’m sorry he felt singled out. That was not our intent. It’s the same rules for everybody.”
Floyd said he had no clue it wasn't permissible and he prefers it was handled differently.
“If I hadn’t been LGBT, she still shouldn't have treated me that way,” said Floyd.
Hayden admits she could have been more sensitive. She also said that video only shows the end of their 10-minute conversation that didn't start off hostile. She wants Floyd to reconsider coming back to the Livermore Farmer’s Market.