The owners of a hostel in the USA removed a Norwegian flag from outside their businesses, after being accused of promoting racism by people who thought it was a Confederate flag.
The Nordic country flag hung in front of the American flag outside the Nordic pineapple in St Johns, Michigan.
The gesture was a nod to the grandfather of Norwegian-born owner Kjersten Offenbecker.
But both flags were removed from the inn. The owners said they would never think that anyone would mistake the Norwegian flag for anything else.
“I am very proud of my Norwegian heritage and will be flying [the flag] on special occasions like Norway’s Independence Day and maybe I’ll find a less visible place to pilot it, but for now, we feel it’s the best decision to take it down, ”said Kjersten Offenbecker on Facebook.
Although with a similar color scheme, the Confederate flag can be distinguished from the flag of Norway by the white stars that appear on a blue cross.
Several community members urged the couple to put the Norwegian flag back, but the Offenbeckers confirmed on Facebook that the flag will not reappear outside the Nordic pineapple.
“We love being members of the St Johns community and we are heartbroken to have made that decision.”
“Given the current cultural climate and the idea that people are judging us based on the misunderstanding of the Norwegian national flag versus the Confederate flag, this is what is best for our family and our hostel.”
The death of black American George Floyd in May sparked protests around the world against alleged racial injustice and police brutality.
Recent demonstrations have renewed calls for a ban on the Confederate flag – which represents the group of southern states that fought to maintain slavery during the U.S. Civil War.