By Rick Press
Special to TJP
A Fort Worth kayak company is up a creek without a paddle after posting anti-Semitic and racially inflammatory comments on its Facebook page.
“To all you broke-a** hateful know-it-all white women and Facebook trolls that think they are going to Jew us down … (You know who you are)… The (rental) price is set in stone so stop wasting your time. This is NOT Mexico.”
The Facebook post, which was an apparent response to complaints about a sizable fee increase, touched off a social media firestorm over the weekend. And on Wednesday the city of Fort Worth decided to terminate its contract with the company, which provided kayak rentals at the city-owned Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge.
“Thank you! These folks can take their bigotry and hate elsewhere,” said one of the many commenters praising the decision on the City Hall Facebook page. “Good. They are horribly unprofessional,” said another.
Lori Tenery, one of the owners of Fort Worth Kayak Adventures, apologized for the comments in an interview with NBC5. “We don’t mean any harm. We’re not racist. We’re not prejudiced in any way,” said Tenery, who runs the company with her husband and daughter. “We hope that you will find it in your hearts to forgive us.”
Tenery also told NBC5 that her husband is Jewish.
Fort Worth Kayak Adventures has since deleted its Facebook post, but a screenshot of it posted online shows the company attempted to explain why it had recently doubled its kayak rental fee at the Nature Center from $20 to $40. It cited new permits and a contract required by the Center, along with a $2 million dollar liability insurance policy on the kayaks and their Suburban used for the business.
In a statement last week, Fort Worth officials said Fort Worth Kayak Adventures did not work directly for the city but was allowed to provide rentals at the Nature Center in exchange for a percentage of revenues. On Wednesday, the city announced it was terminating its agreement with the company and provided the required 30-day written notice that its last day renting kayaks at any city-owned facility would be July 19.
Still, the controversy hasn’t completely died down. A post on a Fort Worth Kayak Adventures page late Wednesday defended the company’s owner: “The guy that had the kayaks for rent was not racist, but he did like being a smart a**, and most people don’t consider the phrase Jewed down as being racist. We only knew it as a phrase people used to explain getting stuff cheaper.”