West Toledo business owner receives backlash for past derogatory social media posts towards Muslims

West Toledo business owner receives backlash for past derogatory social media posts towards Muslims

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Facebook posts from more than a year ago are causing controversy at a West Toledo business.

While a community group won't stand for the derogatory comments made, the business owners feel the group's outrage has crossed the line.

The posts from Twin Oaks Lanes owner Jeff Kuhnle that were made in 2016 and 2017 are now haunting him. The posts use derogatory and racially insensitive comments about Muslims.

"First of all as a Muslim woman living in America I know that Islamophobia exists. I hear about all the things that happen and I am aware of it, but it kind of hurts more when it's your own community your own town that you live in," said Nour, an organizer of the protest against Twin Oaks Lanes.

Jeff and his wife Sharon did not want their faces on camera, but he said he simply vented on his personal Facebook after an incident at the mall where he was pushed by a group of young Muslims. He admitted that he knew the things said were hurtful and regrets posting them.

"We're sorry if someone was offended," said Sharon Kuhnle.

"Yes, I am sorry for that, very sorry," added Jeff.

"You know hindsight is 20/20," explained Sharon.

Jeff and Sharon are open to peaceful conversations with those affected by his comments. But they have since received threats against their business and lives. Toledo Police have been involved in the incident.

"Okay, he said something that offended you, you come and talk to him and work it out, but why make stuff up, why threaten our lives, why threaten our building," asked Sharon.

A protest that was planned for Friday night has been postponed after Kuhnle agreed to meet with leaders of the Musliim community.

Nour explained that she can't sit silent.

"We need to spread that awareness that this is not okay. Toledo is not this kind of community. We have so many Muslims here so many different people of all backgrounds, all religions all races and we need to be welcoming and we need to embrace everybody and we need to be tolerant," she said.

Sharon and Jeff explained they may see a hit to Twin Oaks Lanes business, but not from their loyal bowlers while protesters are calling a boycott.

Both sides said they are open to speaking with each other in hopes of creating a better conversation into the future.

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