I’m sure nearly all of our readers are at least a little bit familiar with Petrolicious, the car-porn site known for making lovely videos of interesting old cars, and maybe also known for making a bit too-precious videos about rich guys and the cars they bought to seem more interesting. Maybe that’s a bit harsh, but it’s hard to feel too bad after seeing the sort of racist, tone-deaf crap Petrolicious founder and CEO Afshin Behnia seems to have been posting online.
Behnia’s Instagram feed has been inundated with very non-automotive-related comments after Behnia posted the following (now deleted) posts to his Facebook account:
So, in one of these posts, Behnia appears to call the Black Lives Matter movement “Domestic terrorism,” which is, I’m going to say, absurd, and then another where he asks “Do unborn black lives matter?” a loaded statement designed to do little more than to enrage and conflate complicated issues.
Of course, it’s a free country, and Behnia absolutely has the right to express any opinions he chooses, just as we have a right to find those opinions remarkably shitty and respond accordingly.
We’ve been alerted to these posts by a photographer who has worked with Behnia, and who will be giving Jalopnik a more detailed and nuanced take on what’s going on soon.
Aside from the obvious racism that’s motivating these posts, one has to wonder about why the hell Behnia would post this sort of thing, even from a coldly pragmatic perspective? I mean, read the room, dude. Did he think that posts like these wouldn’t be noticed, or that, somehow, they wouldn’t matter?
This stuff does matter, especially at this particular moment in history.
We reached out to Afshin via social media and email and Petrolicious via email, and will update if we get a comment back.
In the meantime, the pressure of the outcry to his posts must have had an effect, since Behnia did post a response of sorts on his Instagram story:
I’m not really sure the issues with his posts were that they were “poorly worded”; rather, I think they were worded just fine, if the goal of those words was to suggest that, for example, he thinks BLM is a “domestic terrorism.”
He’s clearly backpedaling a lot here, and it appears trying to suggest that he believes the overall movement has merit, but he takes issue with the “senseless violence led by the actions of a few within their ranks,” which does lead one to wonder how come he made no mention of the senseless violence within the ranks of the police at the protests, too.
I can think of some theories why that may be.