A painting company owner in Washington, D.C. responded to a cancellation by threatening not only his client, but a journalist covering the dispute, DCist reported.
The client, Aaditya Shah, said he received text messages saying, “Death to Muslims” and “get out of my country b*tch” on Monday alongside a picture taken from his Facebook page after telling the company, identified as Pa1nting.com, he was cancelling a scheduled job at his home.
Shah, who is not Muslim, provided DCist with a look at the exchange between himself and the company, after being told the painters would be 45 minutes late.
“I told them I didn’t have time to wait around, and they told me to leave the door open or the key under the mat,” Shah said.
The threatening messages, he said, came after he told the company he would hire another crew, instead. He added that he is not Muslim, but that “a big brown guy with a beard,” he is mistaken for one often.
According to DCist associate editor Rachel Kurzius, she was contacted by the company’s owner, who identified himself as Rich Trevor Dickey. Dickey said that his messages to Shah were “a statement” and not a threat.
“It was probably a bad thing to do, but it’s not a reflection of our business because we didn’t do any business with him,” Dickey said. “It’s more of a heat-of-the-moment deal. Of course it was the wrong thing to say but it’s just how I feel.”
He also accused Shah of instigating harassment against him after posting about the incident on his own Facebook page and on Reddit, and threatened to “do some research” on Kurzius and her colleagues if she wrote about it.
“Whatever future jobs you might want, they’re going to see some things on the internet,” he told her. “Eventually, it’s going to bite you in the butt.”
Dickey also tried to dissuade her from writing the story by accusing her of wanting to “capitalize on the whole Muslim thing,” then boasting that the coverage would benefit his business, since “there are a lot of people right now who don’t like Muslims.”
He also told Kurzius that he would change his business and website domain names. As of Thursday night, Paint1ng.com’s website was no longer active. Police are reportedly investigating the incident.