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‘Ex-Wife Sale’ sign intended for humor stirs up serious controversy

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The manager of a North Dakota building supply store thought he was being funny when he put up an “Ex-Wife Sale” sign, but an immediate backlash prompted him to quickly take it down.

Curtis Renner, manager of Joe Rents & Contractors Supply in Fargo, told the Fargo Forum that the sign selling duct tape, chainsaws and shovels was meant as a joke, but he quickly realized many found it in poor taste after the shop received “a lot of phone calls.”

The store had removed the sign by the time Christopher Johnson, executive director of the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center of Fargo-Moorhead, called to complain about the sign’s insensitivity to battered women.

“It’s not a joke,” Johnson told the Forum. “It’s a pretty strong statement.”

When Johnson learned the business had responded quickly to the public’s outrage, his concern was replaced with community pride.

“We’re proud to be part of a community that does not tolerate this kind of humor,” he told the Forum.

 Although Renner said he “really didn’t think [the sign] was offensive,” he also deleted a picture of the sign from the store’s Facebook page.

“When people try to find humor in domestic violence, I think it’s our way as a society to try to overlook the violence and the pain and the injustice,” Johnson told the Fargo Forum.

Amanda Shea


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