Vancouver Candle Co. founder "steps away" after racist message apology

Jun 9 2020, 12:01 pm

One of Vancouver Candle Co’s co-owners says he’s stepping away from the company after texts from him defending using the N-word and another using anti-Jewish language were shared online over the weekend.

Nick Rabuchin, Vancouver Candle Co’s creative director and head of design, shared news of his resignation in an Instagram post from the company’s account Tuesday morning.

“My partner and I agree that it is best that I step away from Vancouver Candle Co, so the company can continue doing what it does best, without the distractions that I caused,” he said.

The candle company’s other co-owner is Rabuchin’s partner, Farouk Babul.

“My life partner and I have always prided ourselves on being models of diversity and inclusivity … especially since we are an interracial gay couple,” Rabuchin wrote. “Today, I realize that I used my diverse identity as a licence to behave poorly, which is just wrong, and I am truly sorry.”

On Sunday, Christina McDaniel of Warner McDaniel Agency shared screenshots of three text messages allegedly sent from Vancouver Candle Co.’s owners to herself and a business associate.

One message from an unnamed number refers to McDaniel, who is a Black woman, using the N-word. Rabuchin has denied sending that, saying in a previous post that Vancouver Candle Co. doesn’t know who the numbers belong to.

But the candle company did own up to sending the two other texts McDaniel shared. One defending use of the N-word, and another called one of the shop owners carrying Vancouver Candle Co.’s products a “f*cking Jew.”

 

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McDaniel told Daily Hive she decided to share the screenshots after seeing Vancouver Candle Co. share a post in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. She believed it was disingenuous given the previous communication she’d had with Rabuchin.

On Monday, Rabuchin addressed his comments.

“I did rationalize the use of that hateful slur [the N-word] as being an acceptable part of pop culture. I apologize sincerely and absolutely. I was totally out of line and wrong.”

He also addressed his Jewish comment.

“Also, three years ago, I sent a derogatory text about a fellow member of the Jewish community. My text was most offensive. I’m ashamed and embarrassed.”

Rabuchin added he’s reached out to apologize to McDaniel and to the shop owner, and says he’s working on issuing apologies to Black Lives Matter Vancouver and the Jewish Foundation of Greater Vancouver.

The revelations about Rabuchin’s comments have disappointed many fans of the candle company, according to Instagram comments on both posts. Major retailer Indigo appears to have removed the candles from its online store following comments by customers asking it to discontinue carrying the line.

Read the full statement from Vancouver Candle Co. below:

 

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Nick, Co-Owner: I said things that are unacceptable, hurtful & contrary to the values of our company. Racism has never been & will never be tolerated at Vancouver Candle Co. My past words are not reflective of what we stand for as a company. My hypocrisy stops now. It is my time of reckoning. I own my part & apologize without reservation. I make a firm commitment to do better, be better & to help banish all forms of hate. While I did not send the offending text message that used the N-word, I did rationalize the use of that hateful slur as being an acceptable part of pop culture. I apologize sincerely & absolutely. I was totally out of line & wrong. Putting aside our litigation for a business matter, I owe the recipient an apology & have reached out to her. Also, 3 years ago, I sent a derogatory text about a fellow member of the Jewish community. My text was most offensive. I’m ashamed & embarrassed. I apologized to the recipient then & I apologize now. I will also reach out to Ms. Rothman. My life partner & I have always prided ourselves on being models of diversity & inclusivity in our personal lives & as co-owners of Vancouver Candle Co, especially since we are an interracial gay couple. Today I realize that I used my diverse identity as a licence to behave poorly, which is just wrong, and I am truly sorry. I let down my family, the community, our employees & vendors, our valued retailers, & myself. I realize now that my diversity puts a greater responsibility on me to set positive examples & combat all forms of hate. This life-changing moment forces me to reflect on my past to map a better future for myself & our company. My partner & I agree that it is best that I step away from Vancouver Candle Co, so the company can continue doing what it does best, without the distractions that I caused. I will take time to focus on becoming a better person, including taking sensitivity training, & I will continue to listen & learn. I promise to do better. I’m going to start by contacting Black Lives Matter Vancouver & the Jewish Foundation of Greater Vancouver with an apology. I just hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me. Thank you.

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