P.E.I. auto dealership’s sign claiming women ‘can’t drive’ sparks outrage
Mellish Motors in New Annan, P.E.I., is known for their quirky, and sometimes racy, signs.
“We started this business nine-and-a-half years ago. The day before we started was the first time we started with the humorous things,” owner John Mellish told Global News.
Since then, the signs have been a source of water cooler conversations in the local community.
Last week, Mellish and his wife put up this quip: “Women are like snowflakes. They can’t drive.”
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Megan Beairsto, a 28-year-old chef who lives minutes from the auto shop, was shocked to see the message and posted about it on her Facebook page.
“My personal group of friends and the incredible women that surround me were pretty upset about it,” Beairsto said.
Beairsto and her friends said it was sexist and demeaning towards women. But other locals passed it off as a harmless joke.
“The locals who have contacted me, they tell me to keep going and that they love our signs,” said Mellish.
Mellish admits that he’s not the author of the original sign. Comedian and writer Megan Amram first tweeted the one-liner in 2012.
“The ironic part is, the joke is something that he stole from Megan Amram who wrote it as a joke pointed towards sexist jokes and how they’re not funny,” said Beairsto.
Mellish changed the sign on Sunday to read: “Sensitive women. Don’t read this sign!”
The shop owner claimed he wanted to use his signs to point out how brutal and cruel social media can be after Beairsto and her friends received harsh criticism and even death threats on forums such as 4chan for speaking out about the signs.
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But Beairsto felt as though Mellish was taunting her when he added the line, “You know who you are!” to his sign. She claims Mellish added the remark minutes after she snapped a photo of the sign.
Mellish confirmed that the message “could very well be” directed at “one or two people” who have been speaking to the media about his signs.
On Monday, the sign at Mellish Motors had a new message. “Attention drama queens. Auditions today have been cancelled!”
Mellish said he thinks his messages are benign compared to what is written on social media, adding that people sometimes pay money to watch a comedian say harsher things.
“We all have choices,” he said. “If a person doesn’t like my sign, they really don’t have to look at it.”
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