On Thursday, NASCAR‘s Josh Reaume posted a photo of his evening snack with what looks like a racist design on it.
Reaume posted a photo to Snapchat showing a swastika design on his toaster strudel. NASCAR suspended the driver indefinitely on Tuesday for breaking their social media policy. He claims that the symbol and violation were unintentional.
This is the photo being reposted on Twitter as the photo Reaume took. However, tobychristie.com, who held the exclusive interview with Reaume, claims this photo is false. The image appears on quite a few accounts, but some explain that the picture is simply for reference rather than the exact image by the driver.
There is no confirmation whether this is, in fact, the photo that Reaume took, leading to his suspension. Many Twitter users have circulated the image claiming it is, indeed, a photo taken by the driver. Josh Reaume stays firm in his claims that it is untrue and someone else’s Toaster Strudel.
In the interview with Toby Christie, the 30-year-old driver explained the incident in his eyes. He says malice was never his intention.
“What happened was, I made a toaster strudel, I put icing on it. I put icing on it arbitrarily. I can — now, that this has become such a significant thing in my life, everything is crystal clear now in what I was thinking,” he begins to explain the event.
He then explains, “I was mindlessly putting icing on a toaster strudel thinking about how I was going to arrange to get my daughter to daycare in the morning because that’s my responsibility, and I was flying out to Phoenix the next day.”
He continues, claiming he is unsure how to use the social media platform.
“When I was done, I took a picture, I wrote, ‘Snack time,’ and posted it to my Snapchat, which I had no idea it was even more than my immediate friend group. [The account is] private. It’s not even under my name, to my knowledge. Now, shame on me for maybe not fully understanding Snapchat, and I don’t care to get on social media in the immediate future, but somebody obviously screen-shotted it or did something with it and pushed it to NASCAR. I don’t know what the image looks like.”
NASCAR has since provided the racer with a copy of the image.
Reaume Shares Apology
After deleting his Twitter account as well as receiving many death threats, he expressed his deepest condolences for the misinterpretation. He delivered the apology and statement defending his character Toby Christie’s news site.
“From the absolute deepest part of my heart, I extend my condolences for how their families suffered,” Reaume stated. “And I apologize how anything that has come out has offended them or stirred up memories or brought pain into their lives. I sympathize with them in any way that I can.” Adding, “I have my own family. I have uncles and grandfathers that fought in World War II, and I thought what transpired during that time in the world is absolutely terrible.”
He continues, “My view on that will never change. Nothing will ever change that. There’s some things you don’t joke about, and that’s one of them. When you have genocide of almost an entire people like that, a million-plus people, that’s just not something that you say, ‘Oh it’s been long enough, let’s joke about it.'”
NASCAR stated via its website earlier this week that, “
It continues giving details on the specific rules Reaume has reportedly violated. “The Rule Book’s Section 12.1 involves general disciplinary action, while 12.8.1.e concerns specific items regarding NASCAR member conduct. Those conduct guidelines include details for violations through ‘public statement and/or communication that criticizes, ridicules, or otherwise disparages another person based upon that person’s race, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age, or handicapping condition.’
In the meantime, NASCAR is requiring Reaume to complete “sensitivity training”. In addition, Reaume said he has full intentions to race again.
“My knowledge is that I can start sensitivity training next week, and if that goes well and based on my aggressiveness on the sensitivity training, I could be reinstated in January,” Reaume said.
Reaume also said that he had not lost any sponsors at this time.