Tonight, I was supposed to be working. After two days away at a business event, my inbox was flooded. Instead though, I found myself aimlessly scrolling through Facebook. Then Instagram. Then Twitter. Then back to Facebook. As I was scrolling, a friend’s post from a few hours before caught my attention. I had to re-read it a few times, because I was a bit shocked. “Sears Security officer posted pictures of breastfeeding mothers on Twitter”.
I was immediately appalled and for a second thought I couldn’t be reading this right.
I clicked on the photo which took me to the (by all accounts) first published post about this story on Paa.la. Someone at this site saw a tweet from @whittt72 who found these photos on Twitter today, June 20, 2014. According to Paa.la, Nick Carrington’s profile said ”Catching thieves day by day at a sears near you.” Since then, this person’s Twitter account, has mysteriously disappeared.
Here’s what we know:
Sears (Sears, Roebuck & Co) is an American department store chain that is headquartered in Illinois with over 1,300 branded and affiliate stores in the United States and Canada. One of their security officers (or loss prevention officers) apparently posted multiple photos on Twitter of breastfeeding mothers within the last 30 days. By all accounts the first images were found by @whittt72 and posted to her Twitter account. From there @paalasecor first published this story.
The original photos were not censored, but have been added by Paa.la because it’s unlikely these mothers did not consent to their images being shown. The image to the right, actually shows an exposed nipple as the baby is trying to latch. The tone of the poster’s tweet is very sarcastic in nature.
Here’s a little unknown fact about me. I worked loss prevention at another department store chain, similar to Sears, for almost 3 years before getting pregnant with our daughter. I went through countless amounts of training and re-training and more re-training every few months about what was and was not acceptable behavior and what we were supposed to be monitoring on security cameras. Under no circumstances, whatsoever, would videotaping, let alone reposting these images have been acceptable. Did I see images such as this? Sure. But we were trained to immediately change the camera unless the person was doing something that warranted being watched. Not because they were just feeding their child.
It’s very likely that this security officer had to record the footage, then use another system to rewind the footage, then take a photo of the paused footage with a camera phone, and then upload the photos to his Twitter account. That seems like a lot of work to me, don’t you agree?
That means that this person knowingly went out of his way to mock breastfeeding mothers and post their images online. There is no excuse for this type of behavior towards mothers feeding their children. We are working diligently to make breastfeeding, especially in public, normalized for mothers, and this is absolutely appalling.
In my opinion, there is no other acceptable alternative than for this employee to loose his job over this. I say that because even as a brand new employee, he has gone though hours of training already before being certified to use the camera system. He knew what he was doing was wrong and by all account illegal. It’s absolutely unacceptable and we cannot stand for this type of behavior.
Mothers already have enough to worry about when breastfeeding their children in public. Publicly shaming them and making them fearful to even shop for fear of harassment by videotaping them without their knowledge is degrading and we must take a stand.
Sears Holdings Corporation
3333 Beverly Road
Hoffman Estates, IL 60179