Texas business owner faces backlash for 'racist' card with tagline "Your alternative to Illegal lawn services"
The card for Mow Masters states "AMERICAN OWNED" and "Your Alternative to Illegal Lawn Services" in big, bold, black font
The owner of an "American Owned" lawn mowing company in Texas is under fire after a business card of his firm used the tagline "Your Alternative to Illegal Lawn Services" to attract patriotic Americans.
Many on the internet lost it when one of the demo business cards of Mow Masters, located in Carrolton, Texas, and owned by Jeff Hinkle, surfaced and made rounds on social media on July 18.
The verbose business card featured a declaration, stating "High business standards, follow tax laws, best credentials, ethics, ratings, and reviews" accompanied by the star spangled banner. According to further contents of the card, the company is "Taking back Carrollton - One lawn at a time" and its employees are "crime and drug-free" and that it is insured.
The card states "AMERICAN OWNED" and "Your Alternative to Illegal Lawn Services" in big, bold, black font.
One Twitter user called Hinkle's card a "racist, nativist, MAGA-inspired business card," while others were quick to give their two cents and as a result, dramatically affect the reviews of the company.
"Mow Masters is a racist company, trying to 'get ahead' simply by the color of their skin. Disgusting," read one Yelp review.
"They left me an advertisement for their service that reads 'Your Alternative to Illegal Lawn Services' and 'Employees are crime free' which is a completely bigoted thing to advertise," another Yelp reviewer wrote.
Another Yelp reviewer wrote, "He's using the same rhetoric as Trump to get people in Carrollton to switch over to his services because its 'American made.'"
However, Hinkle defended his company on Yelp. He responded to several one-star reviews, saying, "These reviews are grossly misinterpreted. This is not an attack on the Hispanic people. My deceased wife is Hispanic, my son is brown... This is about economic! Giving customers a choice on who they what to hire! It's so sad that you see racism everywhere you look and seek to destroy honest, law-abiding, tax-paying businesses. What do you hate America so much!"
"Illegally operating lawn service [sic] are lawn service [sic] who don't abide by standard business laws, that all American businesses have to. Most don't pay income tax, don't payroll tax, don't abide by the state sales tax law, don't get a business license from the city, don't have their employees criminal background checked, hire underage workers, or pay less than minimum wages, drive without drivers licenses, and the list goes on.
"They only have a name and phone #, no verifiable credentials. M[y] crew and I know and talk to these crews, and they brag that they don't have to follow any laws and make a ton of cash.
"The race card is overplayed and doesn't work anymore. Most people don't want to hire people who don't exist on paper."
In a conversation with CBS DFW, Hinkle said he has gotten numerous death threats since the sample business cards went viral. He is now highly concerned about his family's safety. He says someone found the old sample card, which was never meant to be handed out.
After the severe backlash, his personal LinkedIn page, as well as the company website, have been deleted and he has disconnected the phone number written on his card.
After Carrolltan resident Fonzie Guzman saw the business card on social media, he was considerably upset. “I was upset at first, but once I broke it down, I thought, I feel bad for this guy,” says Guzman.
After reading lines such as “American owned. Your alternative to illegal lawn services” and “Taking back Carrollton – one lawn at a time”, he has some questions for Hinkle.
“Who took it? Nobody took Carrollton,” maintains Guzman.
According to Hinkle, when the business cards were being designed, he made several samples "to determine which wording would be used to let customers know there are legitimate, honest, tax-paying lawn services with excellent credentials and verifiable backgrounds."
He also claimed that the sample card which caused the furor was, in fact, made three years ago and never meant to be distributed. In an era of political correctness, he shared a picture of his current business card to defend himself and his company.
"Thank you for choosing Mow Masters and rewarding U.S.A. Owned, legitimate, tax-paying companies for doing the right thing!" the new card reads.
After Hinkle showed his current business card, Guzman says the change is for the better.
“I don’t wish bad upon him, but at the same time, be careful how you promote your business. I hope his business grows, but doing it the right way. Not shaming other peoples’ businesses or their background,” says Guzman.
Hinkle has now replaced the "AMERICAN OWNED" headline with "GOD BLESS AMERICA" in a bold red font. He's also had to replace the American flag with a small graphic of a man pushing a lawnmower.
That said, the "American owned" phrase is still a part of Hinkle's marketing campaign, as pictures of it being used on his truck signs also surfaced recently.
Interestingly, at least three of Hinkle's employees are Mexican, according to CBS DFW.