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Harley sack dealer and factory staff


A Tennessee Harley-Davidson, Honda and Polaris dealer has got the sack over a Facebook post that said he was “sick of this black lives matter” and called for black people to go “back to Africa and stay”.

The sacking comes as Harley has also sacked 90 staff at their York Vehicle Operations in Pennsylvania and 50 at its Tomahawk facility in Wisconsin after temporarily suspending production over the pandemic in March.

The double-whammy sacking controversy comes amid the growing Black Lives Matter movement.

Dealer gets sack

Russell Abernathy (pictured above), who owns Abernathy’s Cycles in Union City deleted his post after it caused a wave of criticism on social media.

Abernathy's deleted post (edited)
Abernathy’s deleted post (edited)

However, Polaris demanded he transfer ownership:

Last week, comments attributed to the owner of a multi-line dealership were posted that do not align with Polaris’ commitment to welcome all riders. The dealership has published an apology, and the owner has agreed to step aside in favor of new ownership who would maintain operations, thereby preserving the livelihoods of nearly 100 dealership employees and supporting the Polaris customers that rely on the dealership. Should that transfer not occur, Polaris will terminate our relationship with current ownership.

Honda and Harley went further and withdrew their vehicles for sale from the dealership.

Honda issued this statement:

American Honda has conducted  an independent investigation of various materials containing multiple statements attributed to Russell Abernathy, owner of Abernathy’s Cycles. Based on the results of the investigation to date, American Honda issued a Notices of Termination to Abernathy’s Cycles on June  25, 2020, for all new Honda Powersports products sold and serviced by the dealership.  American Honda’s Notices of Termination are subject to requirements governing dealership terminations under Tennessee state law, but the termination process is now underway.  American Honda strongly believes that racism and intolerance have absolutely no place in our company and must have no place in dealerships authorized to represent the Honda brand.

Harley issued this statement:

Racism, hate or intolerance have no place in our world including within the Harley-Davidson community, employees, dealers or riders. We recently became aware of racist comments posted on one of our dealer owner’s Facebook page and immediately started a review process. We will not tolerate this type of behavior in our network, and today we are announcing that the dealer owner in question will no longer be part of our dealer network. Harley-Davidson is committed to diversity and inclusion. We strive to create a welcoming environment for everyone.

Abernathy claims his Facebook page which features a profile picture of him with a Harley in front of the Confederate flag was hacked.sack

Abernathy said on his website:

Regarding the social media post attributed to me 12/6/2020. I Russell Abernathy, did not post this comment and reject the content of it … I vow to make sure that Abernathy’s Harley-Davidson provides a positive environment for diversity, equality and inclusion for all.

The Black Lives Matter controversy follows the recent decision by Confederate Motorcycles to change its name to Combat Motors.

York workers sacked

Meanwhile, Harley-Davidson is sacking 90 workers at its York manufacturing plant, according to  spokesperson.

“As course of normal business, Harley-Davidson regularly adjusts its production plan and appropriately sizes its workforce,” they say.

“Today the company announced it will adjust its production volume, which will result in a workforce reduction of approximately 90 York employees.” 

The plant reopened a month ago after temporarily suspending production due to the pandemic.

Last month new Harley boss Jocehn Zeitz said they would produce fewer bikes to increase exclusivity.

“We are using this time to course correct and rewire the company in pursuit of making Harley-Davidson one of the most desirable brands in the world,” he said.

  1. If you’re running a business, it’s probably good not to openly comment unless promoting your business.
    It’s unfortunate that unless your not caucasian, you’re not entitled to an open opinion & reflection on the current racial matters, very disappointing.

  2. More likely the reason they are decreasing production volumes is because people no longer want to buy what they produce.

  3. Obviously he was trying to follow through on harleys ‘exclusivity’ I mean how was he to know they didn’t mean the klu klux klan?

    1. Free speech means free from prosecution but not free of the consequences of saying stupid, harmful things

  4. Frankly the racist card is boring. There are good / bad and racists in every society. Sometimes I think the people who protest about lots of things are just attention seekers or lonely people who want to be part of something..

      1. So they have Chinese parts say no more Harley can’t even make all their parts no wonder why they are rubbish

    1. Totally agree don’t you get a free dog with a Harley least you have something to walk home with when it shits it’s self on the side of the road.

      1. Harleys are not made in China. They are made in China. They are assembled in the US from parts from all around the world. Some components are Chinese made but they don’t make the bikes.

  5. In the words of Morgan Freeman, ‘You want to stop racism? DON”T TALK ABOUT IT!’

  6. So much for free speech !
    Then those companies are just as cynical as they can be , they pretend to be offended by his exercising free speech , but the real agenda is to make themselves as appealing to the current sentiment as possible so their business will prosper ; no , not suffer , they wish to improve their position .

    1. People that say ELM don’t understand BLM. Of course ELM but that’s dismissive of the issue

  7. I had a boss once who told me I could do anything I want as long as I am prepared to accept the consequences. The Harley guy exercised his free speech. The guy above him applied the consequences. Black people being executed by police is on a regular basis is abhorrent. It’s time for racists to abandon the evil their fathers & mothers taught them. We don’t go around letting police randomly kill people with red hair & freckles. Racism is a ludicrous proposition to hold in your brain, no matter how tiny it is.

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