NASCAR driver clears the air following suspension
Ahead of the championship race at Phoenix Raceway, Josh Reaume shared a breakfast photo with Snapchat. However, the pastry icing appeared to resemble a swastika.
After Phoenix, Reaume was suspended by NASCAR. He was found to be in violation of sections 12.1 and 12.8.1.e. The suspension length is listed as indefinite.
Reaume doesn’t claim to be a social media genius. He stated that he thought the photo was sent to friends only. He also thought it was just a harmless breakfast photo which he took before getting his daughter ready for day care. Reaume states that he didn’t connect draw the connection to the Nazi reference as he sent out the photo.
Soon after, a wide range of hateful tweets were sent his way. That sparked him to delete his twitter account.
Josh Reaume on the social media backlash
“Well, I don’t know if you’d call them death threats. I deleted a lot of stuff. I deleted my Twitter last night,” Reaume told Toby Christie.
“Everybody is telling me to stay off it, but I wake up in the middle of the night, roll over and see, ‘I hope your wife leaves you,’ and ‘I hope you lose everything you have and get to see your whole world crash before you pull the trigger,’ and, ‘Nazi lover should go crawl in a hole and die,’ you name it man.”
“So maybe not a death threat, but definitely ill-wishes. But on a mass level, it definitely messes with you, you know?”
“From the absolute deepest part of my heart, I extend my condolences for how their families suffered. 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. 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.”
“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.’”
Reaume comments on the breakfast pastry photo
There’s a photo in circulation on social media of a breakfast pastry that features the frosting drawn in the shape of a swastika. However, that photo is tied to a much older meme and is not the same photo that Reaume shared.
After deleting his social media account, Reaume lost the photo. As of this week, after this interview, NASCAR sent Reaume the photo that they obtained.
“It is accurate in some senses. I will tell you that I am trying to get a copy of the image. I don’t have one,” Reaume explained before NASCAR sent him a copy of the image.
“What happened was, I made a toaster strudel, I put icing on it. I put icing on it arbitrarily. Now, that this has become such a significant thing in my life, everything is crystal clear now in what I was thinking.”
“I was mindlessly putting icing on a toaster strudel thinking about how I was going to arrange to get my daughter to day care in the morning because that’s my responsibility and I was flying out to Phoenix the next day.”
“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.”
The photo was turned into NASCAR
“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 screenshotted it or did something with it and pushed it to NASCAR. I don’t know what the image looks like.”
“So, if you asked me point blank questions and you asked me, ‘Josh, did you intend to draw a swastika on a toaster strudel?’ the answer would be no. If you said, ‘Are you a Nazi and do you hate people?’ The answer to both of those questions would be no.”
“So, what the image looks like right now, I don’t know. In the situation I’m in now, I play games in my head like, is this really blatant? Does it look blatant? Does it look like a tic-tac-toe game on a toaster strudel or is it going to look like the image that’s being circulated?”
Per the NASCAR suspension, Reaume is required to take sensitivity training. He intends to do that in the near future.
“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.
However, if the driver isn’t reinstated by January, it could mean missing Daytona in February.
It could be a hard blow for a small team like Reaume Brothers Racing. As of now, the NASCAR team owner and driver has not lost any sponsors as a result of the suspension.
“NASCAR has their image and NASCAR is a big organization and I think it’s important that I recognize and respect that they have to protect that image,” Reaume said. “I can say whatever I want, but if someone sees that a car owner posts a picture of a swastika, they need to go through the motions and take action. I understand that and I would do something similar if I saw one of my employees or an official member of my team that did something that wasn’t in line with our values and beliefs.”
Reaume fielded two trucks at every NASCAR Truck Series event in 2020. Reaume also ran several NASCAR Xfinity Series races through a partnership with RSS Racing.