The former owner of Detroit Popcorn Company came out of retirement to buyout the business on Tuesday following a boycott stemming from racist online comments made by company president Evan Singer.
David Farber, a former owner of Detroit Popcorn Company, sold the business to Singer in 2019. But since the fallout of Singer’s social media posts, Farber has bought the business back from Singer, Fox 2 reports. Farber says he plans to resell the business to black investors very soon. ”I was very disheartened and disappointed in what Mr. Singer wrote on Facebook,” Farber told Fox 2. “I don’t tolerate racism in any form, ever. Detroit Popcorn Company is closed in the short term until we can assess the best way to move forward and also facilitate a sale. Mr. Singer disrespected our community, customers, and employees. I could not tolerate this behavior at a company that I once owned, therefore, I decided to buy back the company.”
Singer had come under scrutiny over the weekend for responding to a post about a Target store being damaged by protesters by saying demonstrators deserved “knee’s on there (sic) necks.” Singer’s alleged comment, made under the pseudonym “Even Sangria,” alluded to George Floyd, a black Minneapolis man who was killed in police custody last week when an officer pressed a knee into his neck for more than 8 minutes. Floyd repeatedly stated that he was having trouble breathing. The former police officer at the center of the incident, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder. Three other ex-officers were also on the scene.
In screenshots that circulated widely, people on social media confronted the Detroit Popcorn Company over its owner’s statements and the company appeared to deny that “Even Sangria” was Evan Singer. Separate screenshots of online confrontations between Sangria and people angered by his posts showed Sangria doubling down on his statements while denying that he was racist. Singer later admitted to Fox 2 that he was the author of the original post and regretted what he said, but insisted “it had nothing to do with race.”
By that point, much of the damage to Detroit Popcorn Company’s image had been done. The Redford-based supplier, established in 1923, quickly lost several major clients including Quicken Loans and the Detroit Zoo. The historic Redford Theatre is also in the market for a new popcorn supplier.
Other local popcorn companies including black-owned Motor City Popcorn and Poppin’ & Mixin’ Kettle Corn (operator of Detroit Kettle Corn Truck) also sought to distance themselves from the backlash. Motor City Popcorn is a longtime client of Detroit Popcorn Company and relied on the business for supplies and equipment. Owner Sean Combs, who plans to open a new location in Detroit soon, told Eater that he had spoken with Singer after the incident and was assessing his options. Poppin’ & Mixin’ Kettle Corn also issued a statement impressing on people that they were not in any way associated with Detroit Popcorn Company. The owners tell Eater they plan to rename their Detroit Kettle Corn Truck the Poppin’ & Mixin’ Kettle Corn Truck to avoid confusion going forward.
• Detroit Popcorn Co. Faces Backlash Over Owner’s Alleged Social Media Posts About Police Brutality Protests [ED]
• Detroit Popcorn President Says ‘Knee in There Neck’ Comment Wasn’t Meant to Be Racist [Fox 2]
• Detroit Popcorn Company Bought by Former Owner After DPC President’s Post, Plans to Sell to Black Investors [Fox 2]