A 20-year-old Oxford County resident claims he was verbally harassed, physically confronted, and nearly run over by Sunday River Brewing Co. co-owner Rick Savage on May 7 after protesting outside the Bethel brewpub, which reopened last week in defiance of state orders intended to stem the spread of COVID-19.
In a widely shared social-media post, Alec Tucker, 20, wrote that Thursday was his third day standing on a corner near the restaurant holding a sign that read: “RICK PUT US AT RISK FOR 15 MINUTES OF FAME.” Savage appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program on April 30 and criticized Gov. Janet Mills’ decision to order all Maine restaurants closed to in-house dining until at least June 1. He’s since “become a hero across America to those who are growing increasingly angry about government edicts that have shuttered businesses,” the Lewiston Sun Journal reported on May 4, noting that President Donald Trump subsequently promoted Savage’s lawless cause on Twitter.
Tucker wrote on Facebook last night that as he walked toward his car, parked on the brewpub’s side of the road, Savage “pulled up to me very quickly [in his truck] and coming very close to hitting me (a scare tactic he clearly enjoys, considering he did it yesterday when turning onto the Sunday River road).”
Savage “rolled down his window and began screaming that I was on his property and that my car would be towed in 2 minutes,” according to Tucker. “I apologized and told him I would do so, but he continued to scream profanity at me along the lines of ‘You stupid piece of shit, get the fuck out of here, what the hell is wrong with you[?]’”
“I continued walking and he drove alongside me, continuing to shout profanity. I reminded him that he had gone on national TV and spread dangerous lies and put the community in danger, at which point he became angrier and told me repeatedly ‘you should fucking kill yourself, you should just fucking kill yourself’ and then transitioned to vague threats of ‘If I ever see you out there again you’re going to have a problem, if you even say my fucking name you’re going to have a big fucking problem.’”
Tucker — who attended Gould Academy and lives in a nearby town — wrote that Savage then “asked me where I lived, so I said something along the lines of ‘you’re a grown man threatening a 20-year-old.’
“This really seemed to push Rick over the edge,” Tucker continued. “He pulled his [truck] in front of me, again, nearly hitting me, and when I went around his hood, he jumped out of his [vehicle]. He ran up to me with his chest all puffed out and began running into me repeatedly, telling me to ‘get the fuck out of here.’”
According to Tucker, he kept his composure, got into his car and drove away. Then he noticed that a white truck, “almost surely Rick’s,” was following him. “Instead of going home as I intended, I kept driving down Rte 2,” Tucker wrote, and the truck eventually turned onto a side road.
Savage has a history of engaging in ugly confrontations in public. According to the Sun Journal, he was arrested in May 2012 outside the Bethel Town Office “after getting into an argument” with the husband of the town clerk. He was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and refusing to submit to arrest. The charges were dismissed that fall, but Savage later sued the town and the Oxford County Sheriff in federal court, claiming the arresting officers used excessive force, causing him “physical injuries, pain, discomfort, embarrassment and mental anguish,” the Lewiston paper reported.
In 2007, the Sun Journal reported, Savage was charged with criminal threatening following another incident at the town office, during which he “got into a heated argument, raising his voice and shaking his fists at former Town Manager Scott Cole.” That case was settled on condition that Savage stay away from Cole, who sought a protection order against Savage.
Two years later, a town code-enforcement officer “punched Savage in the face” during an argument at a local diner, but no charges were filed against either man, the paper wrote.
On Tuesday of this week, Savage’s brother and business partner, Ron Savage, angrily confronted and threatened Sun Journal reporter Steve Collins and staff photographer Andree Kehn. According to Collins’ May 6 article, “Sunday River Brewing Co. defiantly reopens, and state issues two more citations,” Ron Savage was asking customers lined up to enter the restaurant to maintain six feet of distance when he “spotted [Kehn] and ran toward her screaming for her to get off the property.”
Ron Savage “called the [Sun Journal] ‘corrupt media’ and insisted he would have anyone from the paper arrested if they didn’t depart,” wrote Collins, who added that Ron Savage “repeated the threat” to him, despite the fact Collins had been “invited to come” by Rick Savage.
In a May 1 podcast interview with Mainer’s Crash Barry, Rick Savage claimed his brewpub can safely serve customers inside. “We’ve got a big restaurant, we’re clean, we can space people out,” Savage said. “You go to these big-box stores and there’s people everywhere,” he added. Mills has “picked certain industries that she’s gonna hurt. She didn’t shut any big industries down … it’s all the small people.”
Barry asked Rick Savage if he considers himself a “confrontational” person. “Not at all,” Savage replied. “I’m not confrontational at all, but I’m gonna stand up for my rights.”
Tucker plans to do the same. He wrote that he’ll be back out in front of the brewpub again tonight, around 5 p.m.
“I don’t intend to let him believe he has threatened away my right to protest,” Tucker wrote of Savage. “I would encourage anyone who is fed up with Rick Savage and his antics to join me. If you can’t make it [Friday], that’s okay, it certainly won’t be the last day I protest.”