Pangea Piercing made local headlines in late August, after U-M student Laura Stroud posted a screenshot of a note she had written detailing an uncomfortable experience at the Liberty St. piercing studio and body-jewelry shop. In it, Stroud claimed that Pangea owner J.C. Potts had expressed opinions aligned with white supremacist views, telling her that white people “needed to stick together” and that it was “us vs. them.” More accounts of unwelcome verbal harassment followed.

The Twitter thread she started generated more stories from customers and former employees, including a short video in which Potts spews racist views. A former employee, Kenny Hughes, concurred with accusations of racism and alleged in a Facebook post that Potts had made inappropriate remarks about an eighteen-year-old client’s body.

Pangea closed the day after the Twitter posts started, but that didn’t keep Stop Trump Ann Arbor organizer Jessica Prozinski from mounting a series of protests outside. Protesters carried signs and taped printouts of the social media testimonies to the windows. A back-and-forth has since ensued, with Potts’s supporters tearing down the printouts and critics putting them back up.

Potts has since tweeted that the studio is permanently closed and has dismissed the critics online as “people I’ve fired and people who’ve lost arguments against me.” He laments the “hate” he’s gotten over “an 8-second clip where I was talking about … crazy people who think that they’re going to blend us all together into one rootless mass and somehow eliminate racism or something.”

Responding to the harassment claims, he writes that “anybody that knows me knows I’ve got to practically be beaten over the head unconscious and dragged to your she-lair to get anything off of me. No joke. I’m also well-known for my saying ‘don’t stick your dick in your wallet,’ so I don’t screw clients and I certainly don’t screw with my fucking employees.” He claims he has a number of job offers outside Ann Arbor. “I might open a shop in a red state,” he says. “Maybe even overseas.”