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Fargo business sign advertising 'EX WIFE SALE' draws criticism

A sign advertising a sale at a Fargo contractor supply store was taken down Thursday after it attracted controversy. Photo was taken from a facebook post by Joe Rents & Contractors Supply employee Curtis Renner.

The sign reading “EX WIFE SALE DUCT TAPE CHAINSAW SHOVELS” outside Joe Rents & Contractors Supply at 2811 Fiechtner Drive S. was taken down before the business received a call from the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center of Fargo-Moorhead, which said a line was crossed.

Christopher Johnson, executive director of the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, called the store about 2 p.m. to complain and was told it had already been taken down because of negative reaction from callers.

“We’re proud to be part of a community that does not tolerate this kind of humor,” Johnson said.

A man who answered the phone at Joe Rents & Contractors Supply said he was the inventory manager and the sign was his idea. The man, who gave only a first name, Curtis, said he took it down because of “a lot of phone calls.” He said most were positive.

He said he stood by the sign. “I really didn’t think it was offensive,” he said.

A photograph of the sign with the caption “Sale!” was posted on Facebook on Thursday morning by Curtis Renner. His profile listed his job as merchandise manager at Joe Rents & Contractors Supply.

Johnson said that some might say, “ ‘Oh lighten up, it’s just a joke.’

“But it’s not just a joke. It’s a pretty strong statement,” he said.

“When people make light out of domestic violence or when people try to find humor in domestic violence,” Johnson said, “I think it’s our way as a society to try to overlook the violence and the pain and the injustice.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Adrian Glass-Moore at (701) 241-5599