A Napa tattoo shop owner has apologized on social media after coming under fire for a posting some deemed racist.
Online commenters are calling for a boycott of his business Simms Ink Studio. In addition, a number of Simms Ink tattooists have ended their affiliation with the business.
On Aug. 30, on social media including Twitter and Instagram, owner Dane Simms wrote: “Over the past few days, I have been shown the misjudgment in the management of my personal social media and have realized how it has negatively impacted those that I care about the most.”
“These actions have affected my work family & community in a negative way and for that I am discouraged and remorseful,” Simms wrote.
“In no way did I mean for these posts to impact the lives of those around me. I ask you to judge me on my actions and not the people associated with me. It was wrong of me and I am here to own my actions.”
The post, made sometime before Aug. 30, was an image of the 17-year old gunman charged with killing two people and wounding another at a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The caption on Simms post read: “Blame It All On My Roots I Showed Up In Boots And Ruined Their Black Lives Affair”
“This one had me dying ha ha…” wrote Simms, adding an emoji of a middle finger extended. “fuck blm,” or Black Lives Matter, he added.
The posting, from Instagram, has since been removed.
Simms Ink has two locations, one at 1920 Lernhart St., near Imola Avenue in Napa and one in Hayward.
The uproar was partially spurred by a Facebook group called Stop Napa Hate, which founders say is dedicated to calling out racist behavior.
“Many have different views than mine, which is fine and I never meant for it to affect my businesses,” Simms wrote.
“I apologize to all who work in my establishments that know the real me and who I am. I don’t have hate in my heart and I will always support freedom of speech and those oppressed.”
“You might disagree with my political views but I can tell you I stand for the betterment of my community and both my families, work and home! I am devoted and loyal to both. I believe in small business and choose to support locally owned businesses no matter the owner’s background.”
“I don’t agree with the violence and unrest caused by some of the protesting these last few months, I will stand with peaceful protesting and those who use their freedom of speech for positive change. I understand that some of my comments are taken out of context, because I do not support elements of certain organizations does not mean I don’t support black lives, brown lives and all lives.”
“I have allowed perception to become reality and I understand that my actions on social media might cause people to unfairly label me. What I have been is insensitive to others and what they are experiencing.”
Simms could not be reached for a comment this week. Two artists at the Napa studio on Tuesday declined to comment.
Daoud Dalia of Napa is one of the administrators of Stop Napa Hate. Speaking for himself, not on behalf of Stop Napa Hate, Dalia said the Simms post had generated a lot of controversy among the Facebook group.
“It’s obvious that he was supporting this young man’s choice to murder people exercising their rights to protest,” said Dalia. Simms was “basically glorifying” such behavior, he said.
“It’s not the first and it’s not going to be the last time a person calls out a person or business in Napa” for similar actions, said Dalia.
Dalia said he thought Simms’s apology wasn’t sincere. “There was no feeling of regret. It was to save face and save his pockets.”
For Dalia, “It didn’t really resonate that this is a person that’s willing to change their ways.”
This isn’t the first time this year such a social media post has affected a local business owner, with Stop Napa Hate at the center of it.
In June Norm Sawicki, owner of the Trancas Steakhouse, also apologized for social media posts many called racist.
Reached by phone on Monday, Sawicki had this advice for Simms:
“Don’t post anything again, period,” said Sawicki. “People take things the wrong way and most people that get upset don’t have any sense of humor.”
Isn’t that an extreme reaction?
“Nope,” said Sawicki.
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You can reach reporter Jennifer Huffman at 256-2218 or email@example.com