A Lismore councillor has accused rifle manufacturer Savage Arms of racism, dragging a local gun shop into controversy and prompting an angry rebuke from the brand’s Australian distributor, NIOA.
Cr Simon Clough posted on Facebook a photo of the neon Savage Arms logo as it appeared in the window of Suffolks Outdoor Sports, writing, “I’m stunned by the racism in the savage arms ad [sic] and it just sits there for all to see.”
Cr Clough not only branded the famous trademark as racist but enmeshed the dealership in his accusations by using an uncropped photo and locating the scene as from “downtown Lismore”.
NIOA’s marketing manager, Ken Stevens, responded to Cr Clough, saying, “I am constantly amazed that in this day and age where accurate information is so easily obtained that we still have people like yourself making stunningly ignorant assumptions.”
He pointed out the history of the company formed by Arthur Savage, and its Indian-head logo, which was a gift to the company from an Indian chief, Lame Deer, 25 years later.
Cr Clough has since removed the post and apologised to the shop’s owner, Chris Doust. He told Shootingnews.com.au he wanted to “move on” and declined to comment further.
His post had attracted comments from his Facebook fans, who labelled the logo “gross” and “scary”, but Shootingnews.com.au could find no indication he had attempted to clarify his mistake.
Mr Doust said he had complained to the mayor, and Clough had then apologised and given the impression he would publicly retract his statement.
However, Clough today said this would not happen, according to Doust, who added that Clough had qualified his initial apology by saying he did not like guns.
Doust was seeking legal advice about whether Clough’s comments amounted to defamation.
Clough is campaigning to regain his seat in upcoming council elections.