Cummins Distances from Michigan Repair Shop Owner over Anti-Gay Comments
Company Wants Shop to Remove “C” Logo from Business Materials
Cummins, the diesel engine and component manufacturer, is stepping in to the political arena to protest comments made by the owner of a diesel repair shop on his business’ Facebook page. The company is asking Brian Klawiter, owner of Grandville, Michigan-based Dieseltec to remove the Cummins logo from the business’ website and Facebook profile in protest of some remarks the shop owner made in regard to homosexuals.
Earlier this week, Klawiter posted to his shop’s Facebook page about gun rights and freedom of speech, including that he’d offer a discount to anyone who brings in their guns to the shop. However, one portion of the comment has set off a social-media firestorm for Klawiter.
“I would not hesitate to refuse service to an openly gay person or persons,” the post said. “Homosexuality is wrong, period. If you want to argue this fact with me then I will put your vehicle together with all bolts and no nuts and you can see how that works [sic].”
A Facebook user posted a comment to the Cummins Inc Facebook page, asking the company to investigate the statement Klawiter made. In reply to that post, a representative from Cummins said that the company had asked Dieseltec to stop using the “C” logo in its materials. The comment went on to say that diversity is a core value at Cummins and that the company “strives to ensure all individuals are treated with dignity and respect throughout the company and in the communities where we are located.”
According to the Facebook comment, Cummins has a history of promoting equal rights, opposing Apartheid in the 1980s and promoting domestic-partner benefits to employees beginning in 2000. As reported by Michigan news outlet MLive, Tom Linebarger, Cummins chairperson and CEO, signed a letter earlier this year to Indiana Governor Mike Pence, asking for changes to the state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Indiana-based company also testified against the legislation in public hearings.
According to Equality Michigan's Facebook page, Cummins isn't the only diesel company that's protesting the shop's stance. The organization claims to have been in contact with other manufacturers and that Ford Motor Company and Airdog have requested that Dieseltec no longer use their logos as well.
Since he posted the status to his business’ Facebook page, Klawiter says he’s received threats to his safety, his family’s safety, and his shop. Still, he reportedly stands by his statement, posting a follow-up on Facebook that says he will remain firm on his views. He also says that his statement to put together a vehicle without using any nuts was an expression, not an actual threat (which any reasonable person could probably surmise anyway). Klawiter and his supporters are rallying with a local church on Saturday to “enjoy a sunny afternoon together with our guns, our God, our freedom,” according to the post.