The owner of a body piercing shop in Michigan has closed his doors for good amid customer complaints about his offensive, racially charged rants posted online and in-store.
Shop owner J.C. Potts emptied his store in downtown Ann Arbor late last week after what he called a “social witch hunt” by people bothered by his rhetoric, MLive reported. By Friday, Potts said his “career was over” and that he was “completely done with the body piercing business.”
“Anyone who’s seen my videos or has been pierced by me knows that I’m nowhere near politically correct. … And I use my unconventional sense of humor to mock a world gone completely insane,” he said in a nearly 10-minute video.
“I’ll talk about challenging topics, and for the ultra-sensitive activist types, I’m sure that I can sound like some Trumpian figure,” he continued. “And with a little twist and some embellishment, it might be the ‘actual racism’ that Ann Arbor has been so desperately searching for.”
A few of Potts’ customers begged to differ, taking to social media to complain about his offensive language.
Laura Stroudd, who had her nose pierced by Potts, recalled the shop owner espousing racist views and “throwing in many racial slurs” throughout their conversation during her visit to Pangea Piercing earlier this month.
“After a few minutes of small talk, the man that pierced my nose (J.C. Potts) began to talk to me about white supremacy, and why whites must ‘stick together,’” Stroudd wrote. “He repeated many times that when it came down to ‘us vs them’ I would have to embrace my ‘white heritage’ to survive.”
The woman said she eventually left after Potts grew agitated when she refused to agree with his views, adding that she became worried for her own safety.
Stroudd’s post was re-tweeted more than 6,100 times, leading to dozens of similar posts accusing Potts of making racially insensitive comments on Pangea Piercing’s online YouTube channel, according to MLive. Other customers also recalled sexually inappropriate remarks Potts had made during visits to his shop.
The store owner has denied the allegations, however, claiming customers are “exaggerating” or were “too sensitive” to handle his views. He has strongly denied being a white supremacist but pointed to three “false flag” incidents in the area that he said proves claims of racism are blown out of proportion before all the facts come out.
“All it takes is offending a few rabid social justice types and they can signal boost, twist, embellish and in some cases, outright lie in their thirst to punish a blasphemer until they get what they want,” Potts said. “I’m not a white supremacist, white nationalist, separatist or anything like that. I’ve just said that we should always be treated equally — even straight white men. If that’s the extent of my heresy, then I’m a heretic.”
Speaking to MLive, Potts said he’ll continue posting his opinions online but just not on the Pangea YouTube page. He insisted he tries to find common ground with all his customers, regardless of race.
“My only blasphemy extends to offering my love and respect towards my own, as well as everyone else,” he said. “If that makes me a witch, then I’m going to get burned. That is my heresy, and I will not recant.
Watch more in the video below.