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Josh Reaume’s Suspension a Reminder That Ignorance Has No Bounds

On Tuesday (Nov. 10), NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series owner/driver Josh Reaume was indefinitely suspended by NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body’s behavioral policy.

A report from Kickin’ the Tires stated the reason behind Reaume’s suspension was none other than a Toaster Strudel decorated in icing in the shape of a swastika. A photo of which Reaume posted via Snapchat, he confirmed in an interview with TobyChristie.com.

I’m a professional writer and insist on writing anything on this site professionally. But in a moment like this, there is a level of ignorance that is nearly impossible to ignore – and dare I add stupidity.

I am not here to call Reaume an anti-Semite or allege he holds any prejudice against Jewish people – or anyone impacted by the Holocaust, for that matter. I have never personally met Reaume, so I cannot and will not comment on his personal character.

But I am Jewish myself, so when an action like this crosses paths with the sport that I love and cover, it certainly takes me aback.

It should also be noted that it doesn’t take one being Jewish to acknowledge that, hey, maybe we shouldn’t be decorating our Toaster Strudels in swastika icing for that fresh Nazi flavor and subsequently taking a picture of it to then share on the internet, even in what you expect to be a small capacity.

Reaume detailed the moment he decided to ice his strudel – yes, I am quite aware how ridiculous this sounds – to TobyChristie.com.

“What happened was, I made a Toaster Strudel, I put icing on it. I put icing on it arbitrarily,” Reaume recalled. “I can – 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. 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.”

That Reaume was mentally sidetracked while putting the icing on his Toaster Strudel is reasonable. In fact, that’s probably the exact time one can take to themselves to zone out for a minute. But to then perhaps subconsciously wind up drawing a swastika, then see nothing wrong with that picture is baffling to me.

Reaume is already suspended indefinitely by NASCAR and will require sensitivity training as a result of the anti-Semitic breakfast snack. He should come out of this situation far more educated on the subject and, more importantly, more aware of how serious Nazi propaganda was and is and how it spreads so easily.

To his credit, he acknowledged he meant no harm. But in doing so, he also revealed there is more for him to learn.

“From the absolute deepest part of my heart, I extend my condolences for how their families suffered,” Reaume told TobyChristie.com. “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.’”

As Christie clarified, 11 million people were killed in the Holocaust, including roughly six million Jews, which, yes, is technically a million-plus.

Reaume has apologized and since deleted his social media accounts. I believe he will be back in the Truck Series without issue in 2021 and will likely do the work to be cleared before February’s season opener.

But to be this naïve and careless with a symbol that represents pure evil and hatred and use it as a mindless joke is reckless at best and frankly plain dumb.

I look forward to Reaume learning through this, but let this be a reminder to all that actions have consequences. I’m glad Reaume is facing his.

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About Zach Sturniolo

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Zach has been part of the Frontstretch team since 2019 and has been covering NASCAR since 2013. Pocono Raceway is his home track and he's been attending races there since 2002. A fan since he was three years old, Zach is living out a dream covering racing, including past coverage of ARCA and IndyCar.

36 comments

  1. Avatar

    Crime of the century.

  2. Avatar

    Never heard of him & cant find a picture of the offending pastry. We’ve gone from seeing the likeness of Christ in a piece of burned toast to seeing national socialists in pop tarts? Thank goodness he didn’t eat it but such that it looked like a pistol. The inmates are clearly running the asylum.

  3. Avatar

    Where is the picture? We have all seen the image that was (extremely irresponsibly) posted with Jason Torchinsky’s original story on Jalopnik. I salute his work with the prop in picture form for added impact. I’m sure there was a good reason for posting a picture that wasn’t even the questioned strudel. Jason is definitely a true student of mass communications with a marketing emphasis (whether he took that or not). His silver tongue in print form is second to none. In fact I will pause writing for a moment and stand to clap. The problem however is the story is not an art form. Jason is not an artist who does whatever he desires with his canvas or lump of clay. This is someone’s life. Bravo on his creativity with cutting attacks. Truly a work of art. Art mixed with attempted journalism however is exactly why people don’t trust the media these days and also the breeding ground for journalistic hacks like Jason Torchinsky. What a mess!

  4. Avatar

    be still me heart!
    hopefully no one takes a pic of a Dixie cup!

  5. Avatar

    While hardly the Lindberg kidnapping it is telling. Every sport has its share of knuckleheads and has to constantly try to reeducate or weed them out.

    Hopefully he and those who turn a blind eye to such things are in the minority, and it will get better as time passes. We shall see.

    • Avatar

      Here’s my problem with your thinking.

      While I personally have no desire to hear, think about, or see Nazi BS, their only crime is, as you said yourself, “being a knucklehead”. Last time I checked being a knucklehead is not against the law as long as you don’t break any other laws while you are being said knucklehead.

      What you are really talking about is being able to control another person’s behavior to better align with how you want people to behave, and that is where I have a problem. Someday, I might want to be a knucklehead (perhaps I am being one right now in your eyes), and maybe what I do will cross your line and maybe it won’t, the point is I would like to retain that right. If something I do is so terrible and there is no law against it, get you elected officials to make a law against it and then I won’t do it anymore.

      • Avatar

        You know it really doesn’t matter what I think or for that matter what you think. Nascar has decided that it is in their bet interests (i.e.maximising the profits by getting as many people as possible to hand over their money). And this is what they feel will do that. The future will tell whether they are right or wrong.

        Of course that is their right. We can choose to participate or not, our call.

        And that my friend is the bottom line.

      • Avatar

        Bill B, we aren’t talking about behavior that was “against the law.” NASCAR has the right to prohibit certain conduct of NASCAR-sanctioned drivers whether or not said conduct is legal or not. It’s just like people bitching about their First Amendment rights on Facebook, Twitter, or Frontstretch. The First Amendment applies only to state restrictions.

        Likewise, employers can prohibit you from having swastikas or other political statements on your attire when working. If you don’t like the rule, just quit! I wish people could grasp the difference between private employers and sanctioning bodies on one hand versus states and the federal government on the other.

        • Avatar

          Guess you replied before you saw my reply to David agreeing with him.

          I grasp the difference.That doesn’t make it right or desirable and that is what I was trying to convey. Doesn’t anyone see where this could lead? Or do they only see the word Nazi and and not question the larger issue?

          • Avatar

            I guess that’s where we differ. I believe it IS desirable to expect a basic level of human decency from NASCAR drivers, as well as at least a minimum regard for how their words and symbols will be perceived.

            Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

          • Avatar

            You still don’t understand my point. While it is desirable to expect a basic level of human decency from EVERYONE (not just NASCAR drivers), it is undesirable to have someone out there determining what is and isn’t desirable and then squelching anyone’s voice that doesn’t toe that line. Isn’t that part of why Nazism was undesirable to begin with? If you disagreed with them you ended up dead. If you don’t want to repeat history then you have to put up with dissenting views no matter how much they go against your fragile sensibilities. You then have the right to rebuke those ideas anyway you want, you just can’t squelch them.

          • Avatar

            So, to summarize your point, Bill, you believe that no private organization should restrict or prohibit any type of behavior unless it is expressly illegal. And that somehow by doing so, the country will become fascist.

            I have to say that’s quite a reach.

  6. Avatar

    The politically correct crowd is running amuck.

  7. Avatar

    Oh wow, maybe my thinking is wrong and need to go to re-education camp. Maybe people will allow my other opinions if I put a bumper sticker on promoting a racist and. violent organization. Yeah, NASCAR allowed that, remember?

    • Avatar

      Maybe it would be a great idea to just let it go? To think that all would be well if it could just be like it was in the 60’s. That people would fall over themselves rushing to embrace a sport that ignores almost half the population. And of course sponsors will be pushing and shoving to throw money at the race teams

      Or maybe not.

  8. Avatar

    The comments here only prove my point about WAY TOO MANY fans. If a NASCAR driver peed on a Confederate Flag or a Christian Crucifix, you’d be screaming, just like you are about the BLM bumper stickers. Admit what you all are!

    • Avatar

      Interesting scenario. Would NASCAR suspend a person for peeing on a Confederate Flag or a Christian Crucifix? Where does it start or end? Could a sanctioning body suspend someone for being PC if that was in their rule book? It use to be that being called stupid in front of the whole world was punishment enough.

  9. Avatar

    Jo…..Jo……. I’m glad I don’t know you. I am sure that you are a major pain in the ass for those who cross your path. People like you make the world a more rotten place.

    • Avatar

      Roger, people who respect those of different races and ethnic backgrounds make the world a BETTER place. I assume you’ve never experienced that kind of attitude, so you can’t appreciate what true decency is like. Very sad for you and those who cross your path. The good thing is that the world is passing you by.

  10. Avatar

    Mah Grammah was from Greenbow Alabama and she told me “Son, don’t you EVAH get into a peeing contest with a skunk. She was soo smot.

    • Avatar

      The first step is to recognize the skunk. And that is basically what this entire discussion has been about.

      • Avatar

        The bigger question is who gets to decide what a skunk is.

        • Avatar

          Now we’re beginning to sound like one of those Spy vs. Spy skits (from MAD magazine for those not old enough to remember.

          • Avatar

            The worst part is that we have this raging discussion going on and I don’t think anyone thinks that Josh Reaume was trying to make any kind of statement whatsoever. He was just being thoughtless and forgot that there are people out there just looking for something to get upset about so they can apply whatever they see as justice. I also hate that I am arguing for something I abhor (Naziism) in the name of free speech but I truly believe that if you want freedom you must let everyone speak regardless of what bile comes out of their mouth. And just to be clear I know any private company (like NASCAR) can enforce whatever rules they want and rightly so, however I still think it is undesirable and goes against the basic tenets of freedom. It is by any definition censorship.

  11. Avatar

    It is kind of pointless isn’t it? Free speech vs a private companies right to regulate its participants to (it believes) protect itself and its product.

    Censorship? yes. But if you don’t? A nice can of worms here.

  12. Avatar

    Of course there’s censorship, even in a free society. There are certain rules of civility that members of society are expected to follow. Anybody who speaks in public or in an online forum is subject to censorship. That’s nothing new, although the definition of what’s allowed changes as society evolves. It’s easy to call it “political correctness,” but it is just common decency.

    I come from an ethnic group that has been the butt of slurs and jokes. It’s not as bad as what Black and Brown people as well as Jewish people have endured, but it gives me a better understanding of why those slurs are simply wrong and should not be tolerated.

  13. Avatar

    Another ridiculous overreaction considering it sounds like he had no idea the symbol that he made on his strudel might be something offensive until after he posted the pick and the chronically outraged made a fuss about it. (I swear people get paid to do this). Of course, why would anyone give him the benefit of the doubt? In his time on social media, he has clearly shown over the years that he is a bigot right? Oh wait!!

    I wish people would stop acting like everything everyone does is for nefarious reasons. Maybe I’m too old to understand this, but the only thing this guy is maybe guilty of is posted toaster strudel to the internet. You would think with the family that he has that he might have better things to do with his time.

    • Avatar

      Bravo sir! Innocently posting a picture of your breakfast to answer a friends inquiry accidentally to the wrong account gets you suspended from your job. Does any seriously think he meant to make an offensive symbol in icing? Good grief.

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