Carhartt severs ties with Detroit Mercantile after owner spits on black man

Posted at 3:10 PM, Jul 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-20 15:25:27-04

Dearborn-based Carhartt will no longer sell its workwear at Detroit Mercantile after a video posted to Facebook showed owner Robert Stanzler spitting on a young black man’s face.

“We expect our retailers to conduct themselves in accordance with our values, including respect for others. Carhartt will not tolerate the offensive behavior recently demonstrated by the store’s owner,” a statement to WXYZ said. “As a result, we have discontinued our relationship with the Detroit Mercantile.”

The incident happened Tuesday during a parking dispute at a social justice gathering.  

Ibrahim Mission was providing security at the event when Detroit Mercantile Co. owner Stanzler grew disgruntled over some participants parking on his property.

Stanzler asked Mission to stop people from parking near his business, which sells antiques and Michigan wares. Mission told Stanzler to speak to the building owner, and Stanzler responded by making an offensive hand gesture and spitting on Mission's face.

Maxyne Franklin said members of her group were moving their cars during the incident. Franklin said it was "outrageously disgusting behavior and completely unnecessary."

Police arrested Stanzler for simple assault. He was released

Wednesday and apologized, calling his actions "unconscionable, offensive and disrespectful."

"I take full responsibility for my actions, and want to convey regret for my gross and despicable behavior during the course of my argument with Mr. Mission," Stanzler said.

He also apologized to those who witnessed the incident, his staff, other business owners in the area and Detroit residents.

Mission, who grew up in Detroit, said he has worked security at many different types of events with people from all backgrounds.

"I've encountered somebody saying a racial slur, somebody not being too happy with security, but never ran into where an individual, especially a white individual, felt comfortable enough to spit on me," he said.

Mission said Stanzler's actions were humiliating and disrespectful.

He said, "People like this should not be allowed to be in this community of Detroit and be able to feel they could take such liberties with helpers."