The local Ann Arbor piercing studio Pangea Piercing announced the store is officially closing its doors Thursday following its reopening last Saturday after months of controversy. The store cited harassment by “communists” and local media in its store front window on East Liberty Street as reasons for closing.
In August, store owner J.C. Potts temporarily suspended business operations after he allegedly shared white supremacist views with his customers. Customers posted on social media describing the incidents that accused Potts of using racial slurs and expressing white unification.
Dozens of individuals came forward with accusations of Potts’ white supremacist views, recounting situations in which they have felt vulnerable and unable to disagree. Complaints range from racist, sexist and transphobic comments to sexual harassment while customers were getting piercings. Many others expressed their concerns with the safety and professionalism of the process, mentioning scarring and pain.
At a BAMN event Thursday night, Ann Arbor resident Alice Held denounced Potts’ behavior as misogynistic.
“About a year and a half ago, I went and I got my nipples pierced from JC and I had no idea that he actually already had a reputation for bringing up racist topics and being misogynistic and just a real ass during his piercings,” she said. “So I went and I did that, and he commented on my body when he was taking the measurements for the jewelry and said that my breasts and my curves were ‘blessed.’ And that made me really uncomfortable, but I’m really used to people in power making comments like that when it’s really not appropriate, and I’m used to minimizing it and brushing it off so that’s exactly what I did. Eventually I had this breakthrough where I realized that I hold the truth in this situation and in some way that’s going to protect me. The truth is going to protect me and I have to have faith in that.”