Harley-Davidson has terminated the franchise of one of its biggest US dealers after the owner posted racist comments on social media attacking the Black Lives Matter movement.
Third-generation proprietor Russell “Tootie” Abernathy of Abernathy’s said “I’m sick of this black lives matter” on his personal Facebook page.
His racist rant continued as he suggested black people should go back to Africa. The Facebook post also showed a photograph of Abernathy standing next to a motorcycle while pointing at the Confederate flag.
The confederate flag is widely seen as a symbol of racism and white supremacist views.
Harley-Davidson has been trying to distance itself from an embarrassing past. In the 1970s they were happy to sell bikes adorned with Confederate symbols as in the image above. More recently, they have been trying to recruit riders from minority ethnic groups, as well as women and those from the LGBT community, in an attempt to replace their traditional fan base of ageing middle-class white men. Harley dealers are now forbidden from associating the Confederate flag with any of its products.
In a statement on the scandal, a Harley-Davidson spokesperson said:
Racism, hate or intolerance have no place in the Harley-Davidson community — employees, dealers, riders or enthusiasts.The dealer owner in question will no longer be part of our network.
RSR Moto supports the Black Lives Matter movement. As bikers, we all know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of other people's prejudice. Let's join together against oppression in all its forms.