The statue of Chief Pontiac, which has looked down on Patton Avenue from the Harry’s on the Hill car dealership in Asheville for almost 50 years, is coming down.

The dealership announced the move in a Facebook post after a salesman sent (by mistake, the dealership says) an insulting text message to a customer, a Native American woman.

The dealership says the 23-foot-tall fiberglass statue, “a relic from a different era” according to the dealership, will be moved soon by its Arizona sculptor, the Raleigh News & Observer reports.

In a commentary published by the Cherokee One Feather newspaper, the customer, Sabrina Arch, explains what happened. “This is hate! We deserve better!” Arch wrote.

Here’s the full statement from Harry’s on the Hill:

In late May, something happened at Harry’s on the Hill that had never happened before, and we are committed to ensuring never happens again.

After leaving our dealership, Sabrina Arch, who is Native American, received an ugly, insulting and inappropriate text message from the salesperson with whom she had talked. While it’s likely he meant to send the message to a coworker instead of Ms. Arch, that makes absolutely no difference to us. When we learned about the message, that sales person’s employment was terminated immediately.

We at Harry’s on the Hill were shocked and extremely upset when we heard about this incident. Behavior like that is unacceptable, inconsistent with our values and will not be tolerated. For nearly a century, we have prided ourselves on providing the highest-quality service with the utmost respect and integrity for all of our customers. We have apologized to Ms. Arch and we are committed to making certain that nothing like this ever happens again at our company. We promise that everyone who visits Harry’s on the Hill will be treated with respect and dignity. On that, there is no compromise.

We also want to let the community know that we are arranging the removal of the statue of Chief Pontiac. We now consider the statue a relic from a different era that should be moved to a place of honor befitting the Chief’s legacy. We have contacted the original sculptor in Arizona who said he would like to bring Chief Pontiac “home” to his personal collection. We expect the statue will be moved in the near future.

We want to emphasize how much we value our relationship with all of our Western North Carollina customers and we pledge to take whatever actions are needed to guarantee that no one at Harry’s On the Hill ever experiences anything like this again. Should anyone in the community still have a concern about this incident, we encourage you to reach out to us.

4 Comments

  1. lutherblissett says:

    Are you Native American? If not, perhaps you meant to say “we white people used to be able to laugh at crass stereotypes of others and not worry if they cared. Whasa, why can’t we do that any more?”

  2. rosewoodgypsy says:

    any word on what happened to the salesperson who made the comment?

  3. George from Asheville says:

    We, as a society used to be tough, have thick skin and were able to laugh at ourselves. Now we have to bend over to the thin-skinned snowflakes. Whaaa, my feelings got hurt…..change society for ME!!!!!

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