Mentor business asked to vacate after racist merchandise found online

Mentor business asked to vacate after racist merchandise found online

MENTOR, Ohio (WOIO) -Hometown Clothing company is shut down after they were evicted by the management of Great Lakes Mall.

The business is being accused of selling tee-shirts with racial slurs printed on them.

Our team looked at the company’s Facebook page and found many people sharing videos showing the online merchandise claiming it’s from the store.

After the social media frenzy, a friend of business owner Tony Pines contacted our station, saying these claims were false;

stating that for more than two years, the company has been hacked online.

Our team contacted mentor police, requesting any reports filed by the business claiming fraud or that their company was being impersonated online.

We found that last Wednesday, a report of identity theft was made, listing Toney Pines as the victim.

No further information was given due to the investigation being ongoing.

The mall gave us the following statement when asked why Hometown Clothing Co was asked to leave.

“At Great Lakes Mall, our values are centered on empathy, love, and respect, and we are committed to diversity and inclusion in everything we do. We have zero-tolerance for racism in any form, and we condemn any such behavior in the strongest terms. It was recently brought to our attention that a tenant at Great Lakes Mall was not aligned with our company’s values. We completed an internal investigation and have made the decision to terminate this tenant.” – Washington Prime Group, owner of Great Lakes Mall.

We asked the owners of the mall about the impersonation claims as well, but they refused to comment due to legal reasons.

“The tenant has properly received notice of termination as required under its lease. We are not able to provide further comment on ongoing legal matters.” - Spokesperson of Washington Prime Group

19 News did reach out to Hometown Clothing company for a comment but have not yet heard back.

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