Axehead in Uptown Town faces social media backlash

Axehead, a Vancouver shop that offers customized handmade products and printing and embroidery services, has actually found itself at the center of a social media debate coming from an Instagram post that appeared to endorse using an anti-gay slur.

The post in question appears to have been deleted, however screenshots shared on social media show Axehead owner Randy Larson positioning for a picture with two individuals who– according to the photo’s caption– are visitors to Axehead’s second storefront location in Whitefish, Mont., which opened about three months back.

One of the visitors is seen wearing a red T-shirt with a picture of Cuban advanced figure Che Guevara accompanied by printed text reading “SOCIALISM IS FOR F * GS.” Larson can be seen smiling and pointing at the front of the t-shirt in the Instagram post, which was obviously published on approximately July 20 to a represent Axehead’s Whitefish place.

The T-shirt is a parody of a common shirt design featuring a comparable image of Guevara however with no accompanying text, typically used in leftist political circles. The parody version in the Instagram post was created by conservative YouTube expert Steven Crowder, who till recently offered the t-shirt from his website’s online store.

Around the middle of last week, a number of Vancouver homeowners started sharing screenshots of the post on Facebook and twitter and advising their fellow users to prevent shopping at Axehead due to making use of the anti-gay slur. Users also began leaving unfavorable evaluations on the store’s Facebook and Google Maps pages.

The earliest pushback appears to have actually come from Jordan Taylor, a lawyer at a local Vancouver law practice, who published among the first critiques on Google Maps. Taylor likewise sent The Columbian a copy of a July 22 letter that he sent to Axehead, asking the company to remove the post and say sorry.

Taylor told The Columbian that he has been a frequent consumer at Axehead and marvelled and upset to see what appeared to be a recommendation of anti-gay language published to one of the company’s official social networks accounts.

“People can have their own political views, however utilizing a slur, that’s where we ought to draw the line,” he said.

On July 23, Axehead published a reply to Taylor’s Google evaluation, providing what appeared to be Larson’s answer to the criticism (the reply came from the store’s Google account, however the phrasing of the text appeared to indicate that it was written by Larson).

The action worried that it was the client instead of Larson who was using the Guevara Tee shirts in the Instagram post. It stated that the asterisk in the word “F * GS” on the t-shirt was really a tiny picture of a fig leaf, implying that the partially censored word was meant to be checked out as “figs” rather than an anti-gay slur.

The post likewise consistently insulted Taylor and referred to him as, to name a few things, a “Social Warrior” browsing the web for anything to disturb his “fragile liberal heart.”

The action post sustained even more social networks backlash, with a number of users sharing screenshots of the action together with the initial Instagram post. By Friday, the shop had actually gotten about 10 to 20 new reviews across the two platforms, almost all of which condemned the service for homophobia, triggering a drop in its typical score on both sites.

Axehead has previously been one of the partner businesses for the yearly Cruise the Couve classic car program in Vancouver– T-shirts for the occasion were prominently shown in the shop’s window recently– however the occasion’s organizers informed The Columbian on Monday that they had actually severed ties with the store due to its “dreadful and inappropriate” behavior.

Axehead’s reaction to Taylor’s post was erased at some point on Thursday or Friday. Taylor said the company later on published a more apologetic reply to his post, although that second post appears to have also been deleted.

Google Maps on Thursday began noting the store as completely closed, although that listing seems incorrect– the shop’s name in Google Maps was modified on Friday to check out “Axehead (not actually closed).” By Monday, the noted name had been changed to a single duration.

The modification in listing on Google Maps appears to have led to some of the shop’s evaluations no longer showing up, and the shop’s Reviews page on Facebook vanished at some time on Friday.

The front door of the Vancouver store was locked on Thursday early morning, however a sign posted in the window stated that the owners were working in the back room. By Monday, a brand-new indication was in location specifying that the store was closed to retail shopping due to heavy production, but that customers could call to place orders or set up a pick up.

Reached by email, Larson mentioned that he would be ready to issue an emailed statement if The Columbian agreed to release the text in its totality. The Columbian decreased to ensure publication of a statement without having actually read it, and Larson did not respond to a subsequent e-mail.

Axehead was established approximately ten years earlier, according to the owners’ LinkedIn pages, and was originally understood as Salmon Creek Outfitters.

This content was originally published here.

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