4

Valley Painter Wants You to "Hire a Vet, Not a Wet." Yeah, He Means Wetback

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

A Valley painter apparently thought he'd try to cash in on the down-on-brown mentality gripping many Arizonans at the moment by making the slogan for his business a racial slur about Hispanics.

It seems to have backfired.

The business card of Russell Lewis, of Russell Lewis & Son Painting, has an American flag on it. It has the name of his company and it touts his 30 years of experience. It also has the catchphrase "hire a vet, not a wet" written on it.

Obviously, Lewis meant wetback -- a racial slur towards Hispanics -- which has some of residents of the neighborhood where Lewis distributed the cards pretty pissed off.

Astoundingly, Lewis has a Hispanic wife, who, when she saw the cards, told him not to distribute them. Lewis had a different solution: use a black marker to cross of the "not a wet" on each of his business cards. He did a horrible job, and "not a wet" could still be seen on the cards, despite the redaction.

We tried to get a hold of Lewis to no avail. But KPHO ambushed him at his house yesterday for a chat.

From KPHO.

"Russell Lewis? Is this your flier?" the resident was asked [by reporter Elias Johnson].

"Yeah, it's mine," Lewis replied.

Lewis said he attempted to correct the business card by crossing out the term "Not a Wet" with a black permanent marker.

"I was desperate for work and I didn't have money to change the cards," Lewis said.

Lewis said his Hispanic wife told him not to distribute the cards, but he said he was humiliated after standing at a Phoenix Home Depot with a sign that read, "Looking for Work."

"I don't know if you know this, but there are a lot of illegal people who stand out there and I was singled out," Lewis said."It isn't hate or anything," Lewis said.

"It's very hateful for the people who read it today and brought it to our attention. It's very hateful," Johnson said.

"Well, I'm sorry they interpreted it that way. It wasn't meant to be that way," Lewis answered.

"Which way are they supposed to interpret that?" Johnson asked.

"They were supposed to read what's in print," Lewis claimed.


Check out the video of Johnson confronting Lewis here.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.