A tire shop owner in Ann Arbor, Michigan insists that he does not serve Black people because they are ghetto, primates and can not afford to get things fixed, in a reply to a bad Yelp review.
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 white customer named Madison Callanan left a negative Yelp review after getting service from Whitney’s Tire and Auto Repair nearly a week ago. The owner of the tire shop, Jim S., responded to the woman via the review site.
The young patron took a screenshot of the reply and shared it on Instagram last week. After reading the controversial comments left by Jim S., she stated that she was disgusted and called the owner a “racist pig who has been on Fox 2 [local Michigan affiliate] for treating people with such disrespect.”
Jim S.’ reply to Callanan goes as follows:
“Most reviews will be left by Blacks from Ypsilanti because I don’t want them to call here. Nothing against them, but given an examination, I found a way to make a boatload more money avoiding them doing commercial water heaters. We stick to University of Michigan related clients … Ghetto folks need to stay in the ghetto and not come to Ann Arbor.”
In an interview with Mic, the owner tries to clarify his comments and beliefs, stating that, “We really don’t want to serve ghetto people, that’s a fact.” He goes on to say that “race has nothing to do with this, let me clarify. What we’re trying to avoid is people who number one can’t afford service.”
University of Michigan student Shalynn Renee Vaughn called the shop asking for tire prices. In the conversation, the young woman was told that the shop does not service “monkeys.”
The student has since provided a recording to Mic that goes into more explicit detail about the incident. (Vaughn has not revealed why she recorded the man during the phone call.) In that recording Jim S. states:
“There’s no law against refusing service to ghetto people. I don’t serve f***ing monkeys, little f***ing primates.”
Since the owner’s reply to Callanan, other customers have come out against the man’s bigotry. One Yelp user named Jay M. urged people to not “patronize this openly racist, terrible establishment.”
Jim S.’ comments about Black people seemed out of place since Callanan — who is white — left the negative review after her bad experience at his shop. He goes on to blame Black people for leaving the negative reviews and skewing her judgement. However, the negative experiences are not new. The company’s Yelp page has a dismal 1.5 star rating, showing that there are quite a lot of white patrons who do not care for his establishment as well.
The shop owner’s views on race and his usage of the word “ghetto” stems from a historically bigoted use of the term. The word “ghetto” refers to the housing of Jewish people in Europe in the 1900s. These housing units tended to be rundown, insect- and vermin-infested, and overcrowded. The term has been applied to poor eastern European immigrants who came to the U.S. during the 1900s. The term became synonymous with the Black and poor when Black people migrated north in the 1920s.