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Ohio Business Owner Criticized for Posting Sign That Claims White Lives Matter Because ‘Who Else Will Pay for Welfare’

A white Ohio business owner is facing criticism for posting a controversial sign about race and welfare outside of his shop.

Mike, whose last name is not known, said the sign in front of his Bethesda business Mike’s Tire Shop, is not racist.

The sign reads: White Lives Matter, Who else would pay 4 welfare. Trump 2020.”

“That is a question, not a statement,” Mike told CNN. “It doesn’t have a question mark at the end because I don’t have one to put there.”

He said that he and others have “paid into” welfare. Since he put the sign up three weeks ago, his ratings have dropped of Facebook after users gave him one-star reviews, and he has received numerous complaints from people requesting that the sign be taken down.

Mike’s Tire Shop owner in Bethesda, Ohio, seemingly suggests that only whites’ taxes pay for government entitlement programs like Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. (Photo: WTRF screenshot)

Mike said he is not racist and just disagrees with the government assistance program.

While explaining that he is not racist, Mike said that he has Black customers and Black people who deliver tires to him. “If you want to call it racist, you have that right, but I also have the right to put out on my sign, in my yard, what I want,” said Mike. “I’m not a racist person,” he said. “I have nothing against them.”

Belmont County NAACP President Jerry Moore responded to the sign, saying that “We actually all pay for welfare recipients to receive their benefits.” He said posting information out of context can be problematic.

Department of Health and Human Services data shows that in fiscal year 2018 white people made up 27.2 percent of all beneficiaries of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, the government safety-net program commonly known as welfare. In Mike’s own state, Ohio, that number jumped to 54.2 percent.

On Facebook, community members criticized the sign, calling it “disgusting,” and “racist,” and asking people not to support the business.

“Do yourself a favor and buy tires from someone who’s not a blatant racist,” one user wrote.

When asked if he thought the sign would help or hurt the business, Mike said it was “50/50.” He added, “if it hurts, that’s the way it has to be.”

Mike planned to replace the controversial sign with a new sign for Veteran’s Day, even before facing backlash. He apologized to people who took it the wrong way.

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