Update: Area businesses remove magazine advertising following suspected incident of racial harassment
HORACE, ND – At least six area businesses and nonprofits withdrew Fargo Lifestyle magazine’s ad over an alleged racial harassment incident involving its publisher, Tamara Johnson, on Saturday, May 30, at Big Erv’s Bar & Grill to Horace.
Rejuv Medical Aesthetic Clinic, Willow District, Dash & White, The Green Room, The Black Frame and the Plains Art Museum all posted statements on Facebook this week saying they severed ties with the magazine after an incident in which Johnson, also known as Tammy Jones, allegedly harassed two black men at the Horace restaurant and bar.
“It was brought to my attention early yesterday morning that racism is upon us,” owner Kelsey Rasco said on the Dash & White Facebook page on June 4. “Much closer to home than expected which prompted me to address this issue publicly. There was a point where I almost let the dust settle and I was hoping no one would notice except my friends. , this is exactly what racism breeds on. And we asked ourselves, how can we help? Well, this is how. Currently, I am working tirelessly to break the contract with Fargo Lifestyle Publication due to “Unacceptable behavior. Business reputation or not, I can’t have this hatred in my house. So me, Kelsey Rasco, mother, mother-in-law, business owner, janitor and everything in between will NOT tolerate such shame.” For those who have no voice, I am with you.
Rasco declined to comment further.
Kelci Boniface, owner of the Black Frame boutique and spa, also announced via Facebook that she is severing ties with Fargo Lifestyle.
“This morning we were informed that a local publication we advertise with was involved in actions that do not represent who we are as a member of an amazing community,” Boniface wrote in his post. “We severed all ties with Fargo Lifestyles with immediate effect. We may be seen in posts already in distribution because we cannot control what has already been released. This type of behavior is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
She ended her article by quoting the late Jimi Hendrix.
“When the power of love triumphs over the love of power, the world will know peace.”
Rejuv Medical Esthetics Clinic not only expressed concern, but claimed responsibility for shutting down the magazine.
“While we were doing commercials and contributing to previous issues of the magazine, we expressed our intolerance to these actions and broke our contract on Wednesday,” read an article from the evening of June 4. “Since then we have been made aware of the July edition and the moving publication has been closed indefinitely.”
They ended their post with an inclusion message.
“We need you to know that we do not condone the behavior of this representative and are not affiliated with him. Rejuv stands for inclusion and belonging for all – this extends to our staff, our patients and our partners. You belong here. “
A Facebook post posted on June 4 by Kelly Visto, owner of Big Erv’s, shed light on what happened on Saturday.
“On Saturday May 30, there was an unfortunate incident at the Horace Big Erv site,” Visto said. “Realizing that a customer was unruly, our staff asked the disrespectful person to leave and decided that they were never allowed into our establishments for life. Big Erv’s has personally contacted the affected family and expressed their sincere condolences over the incident. We would like to point out that this type of behavior is not tolerated on any of our sites because it does not reflect the type of environment we are striving to achieve. Again, we strive to maintain a respectful environment for all of our customers. On behalf of all of us at Big Erv’s, we will continue to make sure we provide a place where all customers feel welcome. “
Visto declined to comment further.
Chad Desjarlais, father of the young men who were allegedly harassed, also shared an account of the events.
“So amid this madness, people are starting to profile innocent individuals,” Desjarlais said on May 30. “My 22 year old son was victimized in Horace, ND today. While buying something to eat, he was approached and harassed by a woman claiming to be the wife of a police officer. She asked who he was. was, saying she was recording it, then laid hands on my youngest son.
In a Facebook post later in the week, Desjarlais identified the woman as Tamara Johnson and shared screenshots of apologies she sent him. It seems Johnson felt that Desjarlais was the victim, not his son.
“So through my networking and investigating with my oldest son, we were able to find the woman who assaulted him,” Desjarlais said. “People forget that my reach is long [and] I have contacts everywhere.
Desjarlais wrote that he had received several apology messages, both from Big Erv’s and from Johnson herself, but they did not ease the situation or the emotional toll the exchange had on the family.
“So as a family we decide to blow up these people and we will also file a formal complaint and file a complaint,” he wrote. “I don’t want anyone else to be subjected to this kind of behavior or environment.”
He attached screenshots of direct messages he had received from Johnson and Visto.
Fargo Lifestyle, according to its website, is described as “an eclectic fusion of uplifting, community-inspired content that residents and businesses look forward to receiving in their mailboxes each month.” Each month has a different theme with content inspired by locals and great news about the community. Readers can expect to find something unexpected every month.
Johnson’s email to Fargo Lifestyle Publication has now been disabled. Attempts to get in touch with her through her workplace and through Facebook were also unsuccessful.