Verdun depanneur facing vandalism, low sales over language flap
Published Wednesday, March 14, 2012 10:58AM EDT
MONTREAL - A Verdun depanneur owner says he is losing business after getting into a war of words with language hardliners.
The man allegedly refused to serve a customer in French, which led to an unknowing confrontation on one of Montreal's most popular daytime radio shows, a protest, and now his store has been vandalized.
Anthony Williams arrived at his store on De L'Eglise St. near Claude St. Tuesday morning to find dog excrement smeared on the windows.
"It was embarrassing," said Williams.
The trouble started last week when someone complained Williams wasn't serving customers in French.
He started getting harassing phone calls, and says he was getting up to 50 a day when he he lost his cool.
Unfortunately for Williams that happened when he was phoned by a producer for Benoit Dutrizac's radio show on 98.5 FM -- who never identified herself, but was recording the conversation, and Williams' rant.
His words were harsh, and generated a firestorm of controversy when played on Dutrizac's radio show last week.
"You claim you're a Quebecois, what is your contribution to Quebec? You have nothing to contribute. You stay at home, you drink beer, you smoke cigarettes, you take welfare. I am an immigrant here. I have a business, I take care of you people," Williams yelled on the phone.
Those words prompted a small protest on the weekend from the Young Patriots of Quebec (JPQ).
Williams says his comments should only be directed toward the people who had been harassing him for days, and not against all Quebecers.
"They are good people. I'm not against any French person. I was talking to a group of people in the area," said Williams.
Those who live in the neighbourhood say Williams, who recently immigrated to Quebec, should learn more French.
"We're in a French neighborhood and it's obvious if you don't speak French, you won't have a lot of business," said one man at a nearby restaurant.
However very few people supported the idea that Williams or his business should be attacked.
"I'm a French speaker and you shouldn't be doing that to people, you know, you can tell them that they should learn the language but not that," said a woman who lives in the area.
"It's not right," said a man outside the depanneur. "If you've got a problem with it bring it to the city. Let the city deal with it instead of putting it in your own hand."
Williams is now considering suing 98.5 FM for broadcasting his rant.
But his biggest worry right now is his store.
Since the controversy erupted, business has been slow.