JC Penney Fairview Heights Flag Controversy

A Facebook user claimed the JC Penney Portrait Studio in Fairview Heights, Illinois refused to take a photo with an American flag because it "went against their belief."

  • Published

Claim

The JC Penney Portrait Studio in Fairview Heights, Illinois refused to take a photo with an American flag because it "went against their belief."

Rating

What's True

A portrait studio leasing space from JCPenney declined to take a photo with an American flag because of the photographer's misinterpretation of an existing policy.

What's False

That the portrait studio was owned by JCPenney and refused to take a photo with a flag because it was "against their belief."

Origin

On 26 December 2015, Facebook user Sarah Lester published the above-reproduced complaint, claiming the JC Penney Portrait Studio in Fairview Heights, Illinois refused to include an American flag in a memorial photo shoot commemorating her grandfather’s passing; the reason Lester provided was that the store’s beliefs conflicted with the flag.

We contacted Lester for more information, and called the store in question. That JC Penney location directed us to their corporate offices, who told us:

The photo session referenced by the customer took place at our Fairview Heights, IL, store in a photo studio operated by Lifetouch, a photo company that leases space in many of our locations.

Unfortunately, the Lifetouch associate misinterpreted Lifetouch’s flag photography policy — which details how flags should be displayed with the utmost respect and dignity — to mean that no flags could be photographed whatsoever.  

Lifetouch has been in touch with the customer to apologize for the regrettable incident, and is arranging photo service compensation.