Elias Johnson, KPHO-TV (Phoenix), November 1, 2010
A group of Phoenix neighbors is furious over a flier they received Tuesday from a Valley painting company containing a business card with a racial slur for a slogan.
Joshua Ulibarri received the flier from Russell Lewis & Son Painting, which showed a paintbrush containing a business card that read, “Hire a Vet, Not a Wet.”
“I noticed something was marked out and it said ‘hire a vet’ and I couldn’t figure it out until I lifted it up and it said ‘not a wet,'” Ulibarri said.
The slur was covered by a black permanent marker but was still visible.
CBS 5 News tracked down the painting business to a home in Phoenix.
“Russell Lewis? Is this your flier?” the resident was asked.
“Yeah, it’s mine,” Lewis replied.
Lewis said he attempted to correct the business card by crossing out the term “Not a Wet” with a black permanent marker.
“I was desperate for work and I didn’t have money to change the cards,” Lewis said.
Lewis said his Hispanic wife told him not to distribute the cards, but he said he was humiliated after standing at a Phoenix Home Depot with a sign that read, “Looking for Work.”
“It isn’t hate or anything,” Lewis said.
“It’s very hateful for the people who read it today and brought it to our attention. It’s very hateful,” Johnson said.
“Well, I’m sorry they interpreted it that way. It wasn’t meant to be that way,” Lewis answered.
“Which way are they supposed to interpret that?” Johnson asked.
“They were supposed to read what’s in print,” Lewis claimed.
Lewis said he wholeheartedly apologizes to anyone he offended and he will not pass out any more cards.
“Maybe there’s some credit there, that he crossed it out and figured out it was wrong, but to still post it,” Ulibarri said. “I was angry.”