HOLLAND, Mich. -- A Holland business' Instagram account wrote racist messages to a resident this week threatening his life. The messages were reposted onto Facebook and went viral, creating ongoing backlash to the company and an outcry on social media.
Dominic Lebron told FOX 17 he woke up Wednesday morning stunned, reading direct messages sent to him from Watercooled Industries' Instagram account, @WatercooledInd.
Too graphic to write verbatim, the string of messages wrote in part, "Heard you'd talk to her if I wasn't in the picture? F------ n----- Ima put you in the dirt." The messages ended with, "If you want a job let me know. I got mad cotton out bad [sic] that has to be picked."
Watercooled Industries is a custom wheel company in Holland owned by Chris Bosgraaf, who allegedly wrote the messages accusing Lebron of pursuing Bosgraaf's girlfriend Brittany Paris, who Lebron works with. The business itself is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has a C- rating with two prior complaints unrelated to these messages.
“After I got the message I went to me and Brittany’s conversation because I was like 'Have we talked recently?'" said Lebron. "And the last time we talked was a week before Thanksgiving when she was talking bout how it’s messed up we have to work Thanksgiving, and that was our whole conversation.”
Admitting to flirting with Paris over texts in August, Lebron tells FOX 17 he and Paris are strictly work friends and no longer talk like that.
Later Wednesday, Lebron shared the string of messages from Watercooled Industries in a screenshot on his Facebook. Before Facebook made the post private it gained more than 800 shares and 400 comments.
“I just want people to know that racism is still alive, and it’s still here in Holland," said Lebron. "I just want to raise awareness and try to change something.”
As of Thursday evening multiple fake social media accounts continue to pop up acting as Watercooled Industries, toting racist slurs and pictures. The accounts lead to Watercooled Industries posting on their Instagram account that they are not taking any new orders at this time.
Meanwhile, Lebron says he's received at least one hundred messages in support.
"I was sick to my stomach reading the email and thought that people like this actually still exist in this world today," Lebron read from a stranger's Facebook message. "Thank you for speaking out, and just know that you have a lot of strangers from all over supporting you.”
Lebron also showed FOX 17 an apology Watercooled Industries sent via their Instagram account which states: "I am SO SORRY! I don't believe in anything that I said and it isn't what I stand for. With all the things you have said and done as it relates to my Girlfriend I just couldn't take it anymore. That is no excuse and I am so sorry."
Lebron says he hopes this creates change.
"People should look at this situation and try to make a difference because that made me feel really, really bad," said Lebron. "It happens to more than just me, it happens to people every day.”
FOX 17 reached out to Chris Bosgraaf and Watercooled Industries Thursday but has yet to hear back, including emails to the company and phone calls which led to a voicemail inbox that is full.