Camping World, the parent company of Gander Outdoors, has launched an online petition against the City of Statesville, North Carolina, after officials imposed a retroactive fine on Gander RV totaling nearly $11,000 for its massive 40-by-80 foot American flag that violates city ordinance.
The flag, which flies next to Interstate 77, first became a point of contention in October 2018 when city officials instructed Gander RV to take it down, telling the company that it violated code, according to the Charlotte Observer.
As of today, Statesville does not permit a flag larger than 25-by-40 feet to be flown within 100 feet of a highway.
After months of inaction by the company and constant removal requests from city council, officials filed a lawsuit against the company to have the large flag removed.
"From our perspective, if the flag pole isn't hurting anybody and isn't in danger to anybody, then the size of the flag is somewhat irrelevant," Camping World and Gander RV CEO Marcus Lemonis told WSOC TV.
Lemonis added that he has no intention of budging, despite the $50-a-day fine. "I don't care if it goes to $500 a day. It's not coming down."
A press release from the City of Statesville noted that Gander RV was well aware they were acting unlawfully as they previously applied to fly a flag of a smaller size.
"The permit was approved, but when the flag was raised two months later, it was determined the company was flying a 40x80-foot flag, which is prohibited by City ordinance."
Ahead of Memorial Day in the US, Camping World took to Facebook and voiced their disdain for city officials in Statesville, saying the matter is "more than just a flag," but about US veterans.
Though many Facebook users expressed their support for Camping World's endeavor, even those who are interested in the store flying the flag have some reservations.
"I am all for them keeping the flag but if they can't fly it at half staff they need a taller pole," Stephanie Locklin commented on the Saturday post by the company.
Camping World responded to Locklin, saying it could not lower the flag because of its size, but that they do put a "mourning ribbon" on the pole. The woman promptly fired back, noting that the ribbon is not visible, but what she can see is that the flag is not lowered during appropriate times.
Others brought another side of the matter, pointing out the US flag code and stating how the American flag is not to be used for advertising and should be properly destroyed or mended when tattered (which is applicable to the Gander RV flag).
Gander RV has 30 days from to respond to the complaint, according to the press release.