Boycott of Edina car wash franchise continues, over allowing Bradlee Dean’s ministry to fundraise
An online boycott of an Edina car wash that’s allowed a controversial youth ministry that activists say has taken anti-gay stances to fundraise on their property has spread to three of the company’s other locations.
The boycott movement was kicked off last week when 17-year-old Gabe Aderhold saw members of You Can Run But You Can’t Hide ministry, which is run by Bradlee Dean, tabling at the Edina Car Wash on France Avenue near his house.
“I’ve just recently become familiar with Bradlee Dean. That table has been there many times over the past couple years,” Aderhold told the Minnesota Independent. “When I finally was driving by and saw that a couple days ago I realized this is the table, that the gas station has been supporting Bradlee Dean and their messaging.”
Dean has been connected to a number of controversial issues and statements, including criticisms of President Barack Obama at an opening prayer at the Minnesota Legislature, for which Republican leaders who invited Dean apologized.
Aderhold was the first to go into the gas station to complain about the presence of the You Can Run But You Can’t Hide ministry. Aderhold said the management at the Edina Car Wash wasn’t sympathetic to his complaint and told him they support the ministry.
Aderhold told a friend about his experience and the friend helped set up the Facebook page, which as of this weekend had gathered 370 members, as well as gouging a hole in the Yelp ratings of the car wash and other businesses owned by Murphy Automotive.
Timothy Murphy, owner of the gas stations, said he was frustrated by the boycott.
“I see it as an opportunity for somebody to exploit an issue or situation or connection beyond its real intent, not ever having known who this Bradlee Dean is or does until now,” Murphy told the Minnesota Independent.
Murphy said the whole issue could have been avoided if Aderhold had approached him directly. Aderhold says he did approach the management of the gas station and was rebuked.
“Our intent was to assist youth,” Murphy said. “It wasn’t endorsed by me, it was endorsed by a manager, but I give my managers the authority to support organizations however they may choose.”
The ministry used the tabling to fundraise, sell swag and distribute literature, according to a woman who approached the table at the Edina Car Wash Saturday. Murphy said he and his manager didn’t know about Dean or his connection to the ministry until Thursday.
“We’ve had to educate ourselves as to who Bradlee Dean is and as to why he’s being attributed to being anti-gay/lesbian,” Murphy said. “I’m not so sure that’s true either.”
Dean recently filed a libel lawsuit against the Minnesota Independent, as well as MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow and her show, contending that he was defamed by news reports of statements made by Dean on his radio show last year.
“Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America,” Dean said on the ministry’s May 15 radio show on AM 1280 the Patriot. “This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination.”
Dean later clarified his views on his webpage, saying his remarks had been misconstrued:
“We have specifically rejected, as all Christians do, the Islamic doctrine, and actual practice, of executing homosexuals. But some have claimed, in effect, that by merely mentioning the execution of homosexuals (as a criminal practice of Islam), on our radio broadcast, we have suggested it for consideration. Obviously this is absurd. The whole point was to contrast the Islamic position with the Christian position. This may not have been as clear as we would have otherwise planned it to be.”
Murphy said he and the manager at the Edina Car Wash will do some research on Dean and then make a decision. He reasserted that his company was not anti-gay.
“I’m going to meet this guy and talk to this guy and I’m going to get his position and his posture and his side of the story, because we’re not necessarily getting that — my position would be to go to the horses mouth,” Murphy said. “If in fact, if in our due diligence, we deem that Bradlee Dean hates gays and lesbians, we would not allow an organization he’s affiliated with to [table].”
The boycott has spread from the original Edina Car Wash location to all businesses owned by Murphy Automotive: Edina Car Wash, Edina Tire and Auto, Grandview Tire and Auto and ProTech Automotive. Murphy said he isn’t concerned about the boycott’s impact on his business.
“I don’t feel that this whole boycott he’s attempting to accomplish through this blog will do us any huge amount of harm,” Murphy said.
Aderhold said the boycotters wanted a clear signal from the business owner that they reject Dean’s approach.
“I would say that Tim Murphy himself would make a statement that any of his businesses would supporting the You Can Run But You Can’t Hide ministry,” Aderhold said, “then we’d end the boycott.”