The owner of a Michigan tire shop responded to negative reviews online with a racist tirade.
A customer complained on Yelp that an employee of Whitney’s Tire and Auto Repair insulted her when she called the Ann Arbor shop for a quote on tires, and the owner used a string of racial epithets to explain why he didn’t like to do business with black people, reported Mic.
Madison Callanan, of Ypsilant, said she was told over the phone that she “sounded f*cked up” and asked a stupid question, and she said whoever answered the phone told her “I’m treating you like the dog you are.”
Jim S., who claims to be the owner and manager of the repair shop, replied to Callahan’s negative review with racially charged remarks.
“Most reviews will be left by blacks from Ypsilanti because I don’t want them to call here,” Jim S. posted. “Nothing against them, but given an examination, I found a way to make a boatload more money avoiding them doing commercial water heaters.”
The shop owner said he prefers to do business with clients related to the nearby University of Michigan.
“Ghetto folks need to stay in the ghetto and not come to Ann Arbor,” he said.
I am disgusted. Ann Arbor and surrounding area friends NEVER use Whitneys Auto on S State!!!!! The owner is a degrading racist pig who has already been on fox 2 (and mark my words, he will be on again) for treating people with such disrespect. You messed with the wrong girl, Whitney Passino… #AnnArbor #A2 #AutoShop #Ypsilanti #Michigan
A black Michigan student called the shop and asked the owner about his racist remarks, and Jim S. responded with a string of racial slurs in a recorded phone call shared with Mic.
“There’s no law against refusing service to ghetto people,” the owner told student Shalynn Renee Vaughn. “I don’t serve f*cking monkeys, little f*cking primates.”
He was on Fox 2 before for a similar incident. He also told my father "Black folks can't afford to have stuff fixed" https://t.co/tz5fdTFEgz
— wonder woman (@jaylabrenaeee) April 11, 2016
Business owners are allowed to refuse service to customers, but federal law prohibits arbitrary discrimination against people on the basis of their religion, race or national origin.
Even customers in those protected groups, which include LGBT people in states where laws cover sexual orientation, can be denied service if, for example, they’re intoxicated, carrying a weapon or violating a reasonable dress code.
Mic reported that another business, Briarwood Auto Care, that appears to be associated with the tire shop made news earlier this year when one of its mechanics called a potential customer a homophobic slur in a text message.
The tire shop owner’s policy would seem to be in violation of the law, if he does indeed discriminate against black customers on the basis of race.
But Jim S. insists he’s not racist — which is exactly what racists usually say.
“Race has nothing to do with this, let me clarify,” Jim S. told Mic. “What we’re trying to avoid is people who number one can’t afford service.”
The shop owner said he understood why some customers might be offended by his remarks, but he appeared unconcerned.
“I understand that a lot of people find racism to be the worst thing in the world,” he said.
The Yelp page for Whitney’s Tire and Auto Repair has been deluged with criticism since news broke about the owner’s racist remarks.
“More like ‘Whitey’s’ Tire,” said one commenter.
Dozens of social media users steered potential customers away from the shop and its racist owner.
“I saw the racist comments affiliated with this business online,” said other commenter. “Definitely won’t be patronizing this business and ask you to do the same. Segregation is alive and well, only your conscious decisions every day can change that.”