Small business owner receives death threats following sale of controversial merchandise – WVVA

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BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) – A small business owner in Beckley says she has received hundreds of death threats following the sale of some controversial merchandise.

In a Facebook post that has since been deleted, the Carpenter’s Loft primitives store posted a picture of store owner, Paula Thomas, standing beside two handmade, life-sized dolls. The dolls, which seem to represent women of color, are shown in matching red dresses with aprons and headscarves. Each is holding a flower with a white center.

The public quickly erupted after the posting of that photo. Commenters called Thomas racist and shamed the store for selling “slave dolls.” WVVA has learned that both of those dolls were handmade in Amish country and have already sold for about $300 each.

WVVA reached out to Thomas on Monday for an interview. While she declined to go on camera, she did say that she now fears for the well-being of her employees and herself. Thomas says she has received hundreds of death threats and phone calls in the days following the sale of the dolls.

She says people have also threatened to burn down her store.

When we spoke to Thomas, she referred to the merchandise as “primitive garden dolls.”

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