Car-internet went into full outrage mode when a Facebook post went viral that claimed two models damaged a racer’s Mazda Miata by dancing inside it in heels. Now there’s a video circulating around now from pro Miata racers Drake Kemper and Sam Barnett where they take the two supposedly Miata-hating women on a fast track lap, in an attempt to force them to respect Miatas. Did it work? Maybe. Was it the worst reaction the women got to their behavior? Absolutely not.

Frankly, I’m sick of this weird, increasingly complicated, he-said-she-said story, but I kind of have to address it now. Let’s just recap this whole inane tale really quickly: in October of last year, the two women, Ali Green and her friend Madison, posted this image to Instagram and Facebook:

... along with this caption:

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Let this be a lesson to all Mazda Miata owners - if you are dumb enough to buy this hideous car, we are dumb enough to jump through the top and dance on your seats. ‪#‎zoomzoom

So, at first glance, this just looks like a couple of assholes messing with someone’s car for inane reasons. There were some accusations that high heels were worn and damage caused, and the wife of the car’s owner more recently put out a somewhat confusing accusation on social media that really started the whole shitstorm.

Later, the women issued a weird, half-ass apology that referenced a Miata-caused accident in 2009, and insisted that no real damage was done to the car. (Also, the end of this track video seems to back the claim of no damage up.)

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Okay, fine. I think at this point most of us were long past donating a brace of poops about any of this, save for maybe hoping that the fundamental lesson of thou shalt not fuck with thy neighbor’s ride was learned by someone.

Instead, what seems to have happened was this video was made:

The video, tellingly titled “Beverly Hills beauties get payback from 2 Pro Mazda Racers”, shows the pair getting whipped around the track at high speeds, and their predictable reactions of panic that pretty much anybody would have their first time in a real racecar really driving on a track.

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The goal was to make the women “respect” the Miata, which they claim they did.

I’m sure both drivers are great guys, and they saw this as an opportunity to bring some positive attention to Miatas and Miata racing, which is great. They seemed to be very skilled drivers having a blast on the track, which is always nice.

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But was any lesson really learned here? Aside from a bit of thrilling fear, the overall result of jumping around in a person’s car seems to have turned out fairly positively for these two. Track time isn’t cheap, and these women may have actually benefited from the exposure.

This was my initial reaction, of course. I followed up by calling Ali Green, one of the seat-dancers, on the phone, and asking her about what happened.

The biggest thing she wanted to emphasize was that, yes, what they did was stupid. Disrespectful and really stupid. But she claims no damage happened, and they were not really wearing shoes at all when they stood in the car.

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Ali told me that they attempted to apologize to the woman who is married to the car’s owner directly, the woman who originally posted on Facebook, with gifts for the Miata-owning family’s daughter, and I was told that the woman refused to see them.

The Miata owner’s wife, Nicole Kathleen, seems to be aware of this recent video, as this Facebook post suggests:

Kathleen was contacted to be a part of the video the racers shot, but she refused. Kathleen did respond to some questions, and she maintains the car was damaged a bit.

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But let’s stick to the seat-dancers here, for now. In talking to Ali, I don’t think she’s a monster, and I think she is genuinely ashamed of what she did; she seems apologetic. The track drive really did make her and her friend aware of an automotive culture they had no awareness of before, so that’s a positive thing.

I asked Ali if she felt that the fact that her and her friend were models, conventionally attractive women, had anything to do with the fact that they could do something disrespectful and stupid like this to someone’s car, and then get what many would see as a reward, some hot laps in a track car. She responded:

“I’m not naive. I know that’s why... I’m not a stupid girl. If we were a little bit less fortunate-looking, it would have been just two idiots in a car.”

She also made it clear that this is not always a positive thing: in addition to being camera-friendly enough for a couple of Miata racers to want to take them out on the track, the way they looked and how they were perceived to be seems to have inspired many comments and emails threatening violence, and even rape threats. (Way to go, internet.)

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She read me some, and, absolutely, they’re abhorrent. And there were lots of those. A friend who commented positively was mistaken for the other woman in the photo, and her place of work was discovered, and her friend almost lost her job.

Now, I’m not going soft on the don’t-fuck-with-someone’s-ride mantra, but standing in someone’s car is, obviously not a murder and rape-worthy offense. I mean, what is? You’d think this wouldn’t need to be said, but, clearly it is.

All of this makes this whole story more complicated and maddening. You want to have the simple, righteous, cleansing anger at a couple of idiots who don’t respect people’s cars. Part of me wanted Ali to be a bratty dipshit on the phone, so I could rail and rant in a holier-than-thou fashion and be a hero to all of us who love cars.

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But nothing’s that simple. People sometimes do stupid things. As much as I’d love to completely vilify them, I really can’t. I’ve done dumb shit, too.

Of course, when I asked Nicole Kathleen about Ali’s claim that she attempted to apologize in person, she told me this:

That is a complete and total lie. There has been zero attempt made to this day to apologize in any capacity. The only communication I have received from either woman has been them telling me that I am the “only one who has committed a crime”. They both mentioned in their messages that they were going to attempt to apologize, but that it was “very clear” to them that it “is not an apology I want, but attention, by inviting people to share your [my] half-truth story.”

So, did Ali attempt to apologize to Nicole? I wasn’t there, and this back-and-forth is sort of making me want to punch a hoagie. Nicole also says they attempted to talk to her as she was with her daughter in the parking garage, and when she refused, this happened:

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When they walked away they shouted, “thanks for the followers!”

Hm.

I got the impression that Ali seems at least somewhat aware of her quite privileged position in life, but also that she’s a target. She’s no saint, but she’s probably not a monster. The same can be said for Nicole Kathleen, and her husband, the Miata’s owner.

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You know, like you, me, and everybody you know.

I’ll let you come to your own conclusions about the video, the likelihood that any lessons of any sort were actually learned, or why this was even made to begin with. The only thing I want to leave with is the one important take-away lesson that is pretty black-and-white: No matter who you are, don’t mess with someone’s car.

This isn’t a lesson that you’d think needed to be said, but it’s worth remembering that for most of us, if you jump in someone’s convertible, you won’t get a free track day.