PRESCOTT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The manager of a gas station in Prescott was fired 24 hours after photos of controversial signs displayed in front of the store went viral. Two signs were posted in front of the gas station, Shepherd Express, near downtown Prescott.

One sign said, "We now have a pedo rapist for president," and the other said, "March is white pride month y'all."

Controversial gas station sign

One sign said, "We now have a pedo rapist for president," referencing President Joe Biden.

"Disgust, anger, really I think I was just trying to process that could be here," said Cindy Tobin, who has lived in Prescott for 30 years.

Tobin said she got out of her vehicle and started taking pictures of the signs. Then, the manager came outside.

"She came around the other side of my car, she had a camera, she started taking pictures of my car, my license plate, and then she came around right next to my door and took a picture of me," Tobin said. "I could see she was yelling at me, and I said, 'shame on you' and I said, 'you're going to lose a lot of business by putting these signs up.' And I think she screamed something horrible, and then I just drove off."

The photos quickly went viral on social media, and soon the owner of the gas station got word about the signs. The manager who was responsible for the signs says she was terminated.

"I was going to buy this gas station. The owners talked about it, they said no deal, and I'm fired--and guess what, I went to celebrate with dinner," said Joanne Selena Lopez. "I stood my ground and more people in America--we need to be able to do this, to stand your ground, to stop the cancel culture."

Controversial gas station sign

"March is white pride month y'all" said another sign, which Joanne Selena Lopez said was a joke.

Lopez said she had been a manager at Shepherd Express for four years and said she's posted similar signs in the past. She knew she could get in trouble.

"Nobody knew I was going to do that. I came in on Monday, and I've been reading so much news and so much controversy, I just decided to do it," Lopez explained. "I started getting a lot of calls; I started getting people coming here, yelling at me, calling me a racist. They came for me; I didn't come for them. I took a stand, and I'm paying the consequences for it, and that's okay. I'm proud of what I did. I will never ever, ever, bow down to the pressures of anybody."

Tobin says she's happy to see the signs are taken down but hopes people can learn to express their opinions without intentionally hurting others.

"It's uncalled for. We can be different sides; we can deal with that better than putting up hateful, hurtful signs," Tobin said. "I think everybody's entitled to freedom of speech, I think that's one of the great things about our country, but I don't agree with hate speech."

Shepherd Express also acted as a U-Haul rental facility. After learning about the signs, U-Haul pulled their affiliation.

A U-Haul spokesperson released this statement:

"We partner with more than 20,000 independent small businesses across North America that choose to rent our trucks and trailers to serve their community's moving needs and supplement their primary business income. This former dealer location is no longer affiliated with our trusted brand."
 

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