Dell on Earth 

One geek’s Totally Awesome rise, and the heinously evil Satan worshipers trying to take him down.

SuperDell Anti-Fan Forum

Name: Crystal Balls

Where from: Ooo-Tah

Comments: I hear things in the wind'like maybe Super Dell’s TAC is in trouble. Is he gonna go out of business? Maybe get busted for cooking books? Get sued by ex-employees? You can’t go around wagging your ass in everybody’s face forever. Sooner or later somebody’s going to wind up and kick your ass hard. Enjoy the trip, DS. I know I will. 06/07/05

The writing on the blog, as it were, is the latest of more than a thousand pseudonymous posts at superdellsucks.com, a Website dedicated since 2001 to bashing the brash founder of Totally Awesome Computers, “Super” Dell Schanze. Substitute “wagging your gun” for “wagging your ass,” and Crystal Balls may prove more prescient than even Schanze, who makes no secret of regular consultations with the Almighty soothsayer himself. That’s because while building up his Totally Awesome empire'from inglorious conception in a strip-mall shipping store'Schanze has racked up an impressive rap sheet to go with an awesome roster of detractors.

Now the fully automatic mouth behind the “best computers on the planet” is taking his inevitable turn under the gun. But despite armed roadside skirmishes, allegedly questionable business practices and an utterly dysfunctional management style, the enigmatic-entrepreneur-turned-pariah is still standing. Though not for lack of trying by forces aligned to knock him down a peg or two.

The Right to Be Thrown in Jail

By the time a mysterious envelope turned up in City Weekly’s inbox--no name, no return address, just an unmarked compact disc inside'Schanze appeared to have weathered a thorough thrashing on radio call-in shows and newspaper opinion pages. Hardwired for a good fight, he ceded little during the onslaught of public condemnation for allegedly escalating a May run-in with Draper soccer-dads-cum-vigilantes. Or, as Schanze prefers, “psycho freakin’ road-ragers.”

By whatever name, three of them motored after the black Jaguar they say Schanze zipped through their neighborhood at upwards of 70 mph'his 8-year-old daughter riding shotgun, no less. They cornered him at Point of the Mountain Paraglider Park, where invective flew but Schanze, regrettably, did not. Instead, according to charging documents, the notorious lead-foot offered driving lessons to his revved-up antagonists, to which one guy responded by picking up a rock and threatened to smash his taillights.

To Schanze’s way of thinking: “They chased me down, they threatened me, they threatened my family, they threatened my business, they threatened my car, all the while demanding that I modify my behavior to suit their fantasies. And then they call me arrogant.”

Questioned by police, Schanze denied brandishing the 10 mm Glock pistol for which he holds a concealed carry permit. But, according to published reports, charging documents allege he drew down on the guy with the rock and, in later public statements, he gloated that everybody got really nice once he made it plain he was armed.

“I knew that guy was going to attempt to kill me or my daughter,” Schanze insists. “You could see it in his eyes he was about to just flip. And boom! I flipped that situation into nobody got hurt. You can’t ask for better.”

Schanze maintains he’s a law-abiding gun owner, and the victim of a festering government assault on the right to bear arms. “The [Salt Lake County district attorney] should be the one put in prison … for being a terrorist,” he said.

Offers longtime Schanze friend Dan “The Laptop Man” Young: “If I was speeding and some people came up to me … the first thing I would have done was apologize like mad. I’m sure that things could have been de-escalated if he handled it differently.”

If convicted on a misdemeanor charge of “threatening with a dangerous weapon in a fight,” Schanze could lose his concealed carry permit which, at first blush, he said is no big deal. “I have a class three weapons permit: I can carry around freaking machine guns for heaven’s sake.” But on second thought, Schanze admitted it would be very “irritating … for them to take away my right to be thrown in jail when I’m attacked.”

Somebody’s Playing With You

Unless you’re holed up in a fortified Duchesne County bunker, by now you’ve grimaced through one of SuperDell’s grating radio or TV spots, deriding all but Totally Awesome computers as worthless heaps. Schanze’s proud of the fact that he hits the recording studio cold, improvising an idiosyncratic Crazy Eddie meets Carrot Top shtick that inspires howling in dogs and the instinct to buy in humans.

Which brings us back to that mysterious CD. It contains either an audio outtake of a SuperDell spot never meant for public consumption, the spot-on imitation of a malicious imposter, or the crafty editing job of a vengeful sound guy. City Weekly put the question to Schanze.

“Obviously I’ve never done a commercial like that, so somebody’s playing with you,” he said after hearing a transcript of the recording read by phone. Asked why anybody would go to such lengths to smear him, before hanging up, Schanze fussed, “I’m famous, everybody likes to attack everybody who’s famous.”

And to that end, Schanze knows of what he speaks. Just days later, he settled a $2 million federal discrimination lawsuit with former Totally Awesome Computers Vice President William Carlton May. The undisclosed deal averted an imminent trial in which May would have made his best case that Schanze passed him over for promotion, then demoted and terminated him in 2003, because he’s Hispanic, and not a member of Schanze’s fold, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

May and other witnesses deposed in the case also alleged Schanze fomented a hostile workplace for women and homosexuals. And they detailed a slew of questionable business practices at the computer stores, and at Schanze’s big-boy hobby shop, Totally Awesome Guns & Range.

When asked for another interview, Schanze was apprehensive, but blithe. “All newspeople are scumbag rat bastards,” he said.

All newspeople?

“Yeah, and you guys just make crap up and you’ll take any negative thing I say, and you’ll only print that, and you’ll ignore all positives.”

For better or worse, Schanze agreed to talk.

We met at Totally Awesome Computers on Foothill Boulevard, one of nine stores spanning the Wasatch Front from Riverdale to Orem. One employee'Asian, it warrants mentioning'mills about the sales floor, where there hasn’t been a customer in 15 minutes. After checking in with his guys, Schanze suggests, “Let’s go for a ride.”

A ride? Alone? With an oddball known for racing souped-up luxury cars at breakneck speeds on Utah highways? Known for packing heat and turning it up upon suspect provocation? Harboring an outright loathing for my entire profession? …

I hop in the passenger side of SuperDell’s Ford F-350'a monster truck outfitted with two motorized paragliders hitched to the rear. I notice a radar detector. I learn Schanze traded his Jag the day after the flying park imbroglio for a less peppy Hummer. He says he’s strapped, times two, plus he’s got a couple guns stashed in the extended cab.

A few miles up Emigration Canyon, the gliders thunk to the road behind us, screeching for a good hundred feet. “Crap happens,” he says as we snap off what’s left of a shoddy weld and heave the gliders into the truck bed.

“Why are we even discussing these heinously evil, complete liars, even giving any justice to their stupid claims?” he demands throughout the aimless two-hour drive--mostly within the speed limit. “I don’t know what I could discuss, because I can’t really discuss that case,” he says, adding: “Obviously everything in it was a total load of crap.”

There’s an infectious quality to Schanze’s outbursts'equal parts irrational bombast tethered to the conviction of a man so confident to assert, in all sincerity, “Anybody that says anything negative about me is an absolute liar.”

According to May’s attorney, the parties included a confidentiality agreement in the settlement, but you wouldn’t know it by talking to Schanze. At the core of the accusations, he finds it inconceivable that May, who he once considered a close friend, not to mention the company’s highest-paid employee, would deign to play the discrimination card.

“That’s just a huge, unbelievably sick thing about the system: A total liar can claim you discriminated, file a lawsuit, and now you can’t do anything until that lawsuit is taken care of,” Schanze moaned.

Bad

Enter Peter Van Horn, “a very, very unlikely friend of Mr. Dell Schanze.” And he’s not kidding.

Van Horn, a self-described former drug addict and ladies’ man, and a lifelong rock-and-roller, met Schanze in a Totally Awesome Computers parking lot a couple years ago. Van Horn thought he was stylin’ in a 2001 Porche Carerra until Schanze pulled up beside in a silver Twin Turbo. The two hit it off instantly.

“Out comes Dell Schanze:” Hey, how’s it going, dude? Nice car.

“Yeah, I like yours better.”

Get in.

Fast forward another year. Van Horn rolls up to the same store, only this time in his own Twin Turbo. The real-estate boom has been good to him, and he’s shopping for a computer to cut his next album.

In working with Schanze on various projects'including a yet-to-be-aired TV commercial, featuring a barely dressed blonde with a machine gun' “I’ve caught myself caring about him,” Van Horn said. “I don’t want him to be hurt; I want him to learn something.”

Where Schanze comes across in the media as an arrogant lunatic, Van Horn sees a na%uFFFDve free spirit. “When he told me the only album he ever bought was [Michael Jackson’s] Bad,” Van Horn was shocked, because he had Schanze pegged as more worldly. “But no, [he’s] just really this odd genius that doesn’t get it like other people get it,” he said.

And he’s a generous genius, too. Schanze’s Totally Awesome Foundation donated upwards of $10,000 to charitable causes last year'while floating a $200,000 loan to his company'he drops $500 tips on sad-case waitresses, and even former employees who despise the man admit he paid them well for their work.

Van Horn traces Schanze’s over-the-top zest for life to a couple of near-death bullet bike accidents, one of which required spinal fusions for 11 crushed vertebrae. And while he believes his buddy “deserves to be spanked really hard” for his latest antics, Van Horn doesn’t think they should exact ruin for Schanze and his company.

Schanze confided that the lawsuit combined with negative press is killing business, Van Horn said, and he’s having trouble making payroll. Adding insult, Schanze’s dog just bit the neighbor kid, Van Horn said.

The Flow

Invoking the confidentiality provision, May declined to discuss Schanze, terms of the agreement or the vehemently disputed allegations. Deposed witnesses are not bound, however, and some were eager to fill in the gaps.

As May contended, several former Totally Awesome employees say non-LDS workers were systematically purged from the ranks in 2003. Schanze handpicked the new management team, derisively known as the “Mormon Mafia,” and promoted a relatively inexperienced, LDS assistant store manager to be CEO in early 2003. They allege that May’s effective replacement as top dog with Brad Hintze, then a 25-year-old corporate neophyte, lends credence not only to the Mormon takeover conspiracy, but also to alleged financial irregularities at the company.

On Jan. 9, 2003, a frustrated Hintze was on the verge of quitting when he shot off a staffwide e-mail accusing May, Schanze and Schanze’s brother Eric Steele, then chief financial officer, of “not being completely honest with the company,” according to Hintze’s deposition testimony. City Weekly was unable to contact Hintze, who was demoted to a store-level position earlier this year, and subsequently resigned, according to Schanze. But as others recall the memo, it was more biting than Hintze had let on.

“We started questioning Dell’s ethics as to where all the money was going,” said Cameron Landies, a former top salesman for the company, who claims he was fired for dubious reasons at the height of the so-called purge. “Brad was calling [Schanze] out, then next thing you know, he’s CEO and doesn’t want to talk about it anymore.”

Despite ongoing lobbying from employees and friends to implement an electronic point of sale system, Schanze and Steele (who changed his surname some years back) have resisted mightily, opting for handwritten invoices and elementary spreadsheet programs to track company business. The resultant “loosey-goosey” financial controls, as one former Totally Awesome senior controller puts it, has made employee theft one of Schanze’s most vexing issues. One employee was busted stealing an estimated $250,000 to $600,000 worth of merchandise over the course of a few years, according to published reports. Schanze has yet to fully upgrade the system, but nonetheless blames a rash of thefts on May, whom he fired more than two years ago.

“Every company in the world has employee theft,” Schanze explained. “And, yeah, had we had better systems in place … but gee, who was in charge at the time?”

Carl May?

“Ohhh, ayyy, wowww, so Carl’s in charge, and $650,000 dollars gets stolen, and then he gets fired, but he claims discrimination. Oh my s't, are you kidding me? Do you see how screwed up this is? Can you even comprehend the level that I’ve been screwed over, cheated, stolen from, robbed, raped, beaten, attacked and brutalized and what is the story? I’m the bad guy.”

Some speculate that Schanze’s growing mistrust led him to cast all non-Mormon employees as de facto thieves, because they couldn’t “talk to God,” as he often said.

Within a week of hiring on in 2000, Landies said he was subjected to an audit of sorts to determine “if I had my spiritual s't together.” It was around 11 p.m. at the downtown store. Landies recalls he’d been working off the clock since 8, when Schanze plopped him down on a monitor box to inquire of Landies’ religious leanings'specifically, whether he was LDS, which he is not.

“‘You don’t got it,’” Landies recalls the diagnosis, which freaked him out and left him fearing for his job. “‘Something’s wrong with you.’”

Self-described Jack Mormon and former Totally Awesome store manager Jeremy Whipple quit the company in disgust in 2002. He said he got the same treatment as Landies that night, albeit with a more encouraging verdict. “‘You’re close, man. You almost got it. You just need to be going to church more.’”

Derek Nielsen is convinced he fell afoul of Schanze’s spiritual prerequisite soon after his swift rise to general manager and wunderkind salesman by 1999. A one-time LDS missionary, Nielsen still considers himself a devout Christian, but he’s also taken up shamanism. His beliefs include the use of certain hallucinogens'he mentioned peyote and cannabis'which he believes enhance spiritual understanding.

At one time the boss’s right-hand man, an “idiotic joke” outed Nielsen as a “Satan worshiper.” Or, at least that’s how he says Schanze referred to him after Nielsen’s cousin, who worked at another of Schanze’s stores, decided to send him a marijuana plant via the company courier. Even though Nielsen says he had no part in the prank, Schanze demoted him, docked his pay, and scrapped his bonuses, upon which Nielsen quit.

Schanze ultimately refused to accept the resignation but, according to Nielsen’s deposition, Schanze told him he was “following Satan,” “didn’t have the flow of God,” and could no longer be trusted to run the company. The demotion stood, but Schanze restored Nielsen’s pay, telling him the only reason he wasn’t fired is because he was the best salesman in the company.

“It is his religion to smoke weed … and I didn’t fire him!” Schanze exclaimed. “Why? Because he was doing a good job; I don’t discriminate against people.”

“He didn’t fire me,” Nielsen conceded, “but he closed the door for me and ultimately pushed me out of the company,” another alleged victim of the forced heathen exodus.

For his part, Totally Awesome’s former companywide technician manager Joe Burton doesn’t buy the discrimination claims, because if Schanze had it in for non-Mormons, Burton said, he would have been at the top of the hit list. Burton survived the 2003 expulsions, despite sticking out as a long-haired, tattooed, heavy-metal-T-shirt-wearing heathen. What’s more, when he took time off to be with his ailing mother, who died last summer, Schanze handed him $1,500 cash, and said, “‘Come back when you can.’”

“I have zero qualms with him,” Burton said. “What he believes in he firmly believes, and that might upset people, but at the same time standing up for what you believe in is a quality, not the opposite."

In the beginning, Nielsen and others bought into Schanze’s bold promises of storming the worldwide PC market, and making millionaires of Totally Awesome’s rank-and-file. But that’s all changed, they say. Schanze changed, the dream petered out and, to date, not a single store has opened out of state.

Whipple said his boss once was “almost as good of a person as he thinks he is.” Back then, he said, Schanze inspired through motivation, but gradually turned toward intimidation.

“I would … like to start adding a bit more threat of termination to try and help all of you get out of your comfortable world,” Schanze wrote to staff during a 2002 downturn in sales.

In the old days, “free money” (bonuses) and free lunches flowed, Steele recounts. “[Schanze] gave away hundreds of thousands of dollars over the first few years to employees,” he said. “And how quick they are to forget that.”

Even so, Steele acknowledges his brother’s part in eroding near-unanimous loyalty from his employees. In late 2002, cash flow slowed, wages and bonuses tanked, a rash of employees supplemented their wages with pilfered computer wares, the troops began losing faith in the mission and Schanze lost his cool.

By late 2003, Schanze was full-tilt livid with the mounting shrinkage, when he shot off a rambling warning to all who might cross him. “Who else would like to experience the Salt Lake jail, Oxbow or the point?” Schanze wrote in the staffwide admonition. “I’ll make sure you get a very big muscle bound homo for a cell mate as well. Get it? Cell mate? Imagine for a second being …”

“Dell is a two-edged sword,” observes Steele. “His ego has allowed him to get the attention he needs for the business to work.” At the same time, he can be a “real arrogant A-hole,” Steele said. And no more so than in the past couple years, where Schanze took to lashing back “in a rude or condescending manner to employees,” he continued, adding, “he’s responsible for aggravating some of those situations.”

That’s not to say the soured ex-employees were discriminated against: They were fired undiplomatically, yes, but for cause, Steele said. Unlike Schanze, however, Steele would rather not discuss the particular causes for those terminations. “It’s inappropriate for me to be badmouthing people who are former employees, regardless of how inappropriate their conduct was that led to their discharge,” he said.

Firing became something of an art in itself. When Schanze decided someone had to go, Whipple and other store managers say they were ordered to justify the termination by digging up past dirt on the target employee, which may or may not have been true, so the company could avoid paying out unemployment.

“I have to expose them for that because of my involvement,” said Whipple, deeming his part in creating retroactive write-ups “downright dishonest.”

Schanze is unfazed by the allegation. “Sometimes it takes awhile,” he said. “But, yeah, people screw up, we write them up'before we fire them, and after we fire them.”

Nielsen adds that Schanze’s business practices didn’t sit well with many. Take Totally Awesome’s often-advertised policy to beat any comparable computer price by $100. “He trained us to beat [customers] up, disparage the product, whatever,” Nielsen said. “You bait them with, ‘We can beat their price by a hundred bucks,’ and ultimately you sell them a computer for $600 more.”

At one point in 2002, a salesman at the Orem store e-mailed Schanze about a customer who was unhappy that Totally Awesome wouldn’t beat his price, to which Schanze dashed off a staffwide e-mail.

“We will beat any delivered price on any complete computer system on the planet. If you have trouble talking people out of this then refer them to me,” he wrote. Today, Schanze said there’s nothing deceptive about the practice. “We’ll beat any freaking price,” he said. “But the truth is, you don’t want us to beat a price on a piece of crap. That’s just honesty. … Dishonest employees that don’t understand it are no longer with me.”

Former Totally Awesome senior controller Sherri Young alleges she understood exactly what Schanze’s brother Eric Steele ordered her to do.

“I was ordered to falsify documents, as was my ex-husband,” Young testified in her deposition, referring to an alleged effort to thwart a state sales tax audit several years ago. A current Totally Awesome employee confirmed she was present when Steele ordered Young to “forge” the documents, according to a court deposition.

Asked why she falsified the documents, Young said she feared for her job, because at the time she was fleeing an abusive relationship, and “hiding in hotels with seven kids.”

There’s a nugget of truth to Young’s “vast distortion,” Steele offers, but nothing at all nefarious. “Yes, I told her to re-create the invoices,” he said, “if she could come up with a reasonable basis to do it.”

Young also detailed financial shenanigans at the gun store, where she alleged a $1 million asset disappeared from the books without explanation. “[Steele] told me that the money was offshore, that it was fairly risky, that he had no guarantee that it was going to be worthwhile,” Young testified in her deposition. “And I believe he said that, you know, it was in a country that didn’t have reciprocating banking laws …”

“That’s absolute nonsense,” Steele said, adding that there was a $1 million line of credit extended to the gun store from the computer store, of which he says every dollar can be accounted for.

Multiple former gun store employees cited Steele’s accounting methods for why they sought employment elsewhere. Russ Oliver, a one-time limited partner in the venture, said he insisted on a point-of-sale system to track inventory, transactions and compliance with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

“At every turn, Eric continuously sabotaged that system, still requiring handwritten end of day financials,” Oliver said. “[W]hatever the computer printed out that day was really meaningless, because … the numbers that I would keep out of the point of sale system would never match the numbers that Eric had as far as profit and loss for the company.”

Schanze countered: “We have absolute clean-cut financial records [of] where every single penny went. I have full faith and trust in my brother.” He added that Oliver’s poor management cost him upwards of a million dollars, and that Oliver went on to “screw” businessman Rick White “for about $800,000.”

Said White: “I didn’t get taken in by Russ Oliver at all. Actually, I think he saved me a bunch of future money,” which is why he hired Oliver to manage the manufacturing division of one of his companies.

“He’s got a heck of a personality and a big heart,” White said of Schanze. “I just feel sorry for him, because I don’t think he’s a liar; I just think he gets confused.”

Steele conceded that Oliver isn’t to blame for all of the gun store losses, and he said Schanze may have “inadvertently” misled Oliver about the amount of capital he had to invest in the failing gun store, leading to the acrimonious parting. Schanze touts his companies’ worth at hundreds of millions of dollars, which Steele says is untrue, but not in his brother’s mind. That irrational exuberance, Steele said, cropped up in computer store meetings, too, which may explain why many ex-employees feel they were sold a bill of goods and now want some payback.

Young recently filed a federal lawsuit against Totally Awesome Computers, claiming gender discrimination played a part in her January 2004 termination, among other allegations.

“Once again, she’s a total freaking liar,” said Schanze. “She defrauded the unemployment office, stole thousands of dollars from us, was a complete liar. … And not to mention, she’s got to be the freaking ugliest chick you could possibly imagine,” Schanze said, confusing the gender discrimination claim with one of sexual harassment. “Oh my hideousness.”

As to the claims that Steele ordered Young to falsify tax documents, Schanze points to an IRS audit currently underway at the company. “If there’s some fraud there, I’m sure they’ll find it,” he said. “And if there’s not, is Sherri Young going to be thrown in jail for saying there is?”

The King of Inappropriate

When somebody does wrong by Dell Schanze, the consequences rain fast and furiously. He’s taken to the warpath often, once publicly castigating a customer for complaining about Totally Awesome’s customer service, spewing venom at the Provo mayor for outfitting the city with computers other than his own'even though he never bid for the contract'and picketing the Better Business Bureau, when it took issue with his questionable advertising claims.

But the higher the self-touted “freakin’ superhero” climbs up his moralistic perch, the further could be his downfall. Schanze’s biggest advocate, Van Horn, recognizes as much. Nonetheless, he trusts “there’s greatness” in SuperDell and his product. “I just think he’s been steered wrong, and mixed in with this volatile cocktail of fame.”

“We as humans like to build our heroes up, we like to see them fall, but then we like to see them rebound and make that comeback. …You just have to say ‘sorry.’”

Alas, Schanze isn’t one to apologize, or admit that his behavior is at least inconsistent, when others spot it a mile away.

“Women that dress immodestly are going to be in a world of hurt after they die,” Schanze once posted to superdellsucks.com. “It is pretty sick when people [will] sell their virtue and all that is holy for a few dollars.”

That’s coming from a regular patron of Bikini Cuts, where female flesh makes up the stock and, according to Schanze, a first-rate flattop is the trade.

“I think it’s immoral, I think it’s inappropriate, I think it creates impure thoughts,” he said, adding, “I’m not going to go somewhere else just, you know, to get a hack job.”

Others find Schanze’s choice of stylists indicative of more than an upright man with finicky cosmetic sensibilities.

“He’s the king of inappropriate,” said Nielsen. After hiring a woman early in his tenure, Nielsen said Schanze kiboshed the practice going forward, explaining, “‘They get me in trouble.’” And they have at that.

A current female employee who was deposed in May’s lawsuit testified that Schanze often commented “how good I looked … if I was bending over and picking something up.” The woman, who declined to be interviewed, also testified that Schanze “asked me to get on the counter and dance for the guys at the store.” And she alleged Schanze suggested that another female employee “could sell butter, because she had big boobs.”

In his deposition, Schanze acknowledged asking the woman to get up and dance, but he said it was clearly a joke, for which he apologized.

For his money, Van Horn doesn’t think Schanze’s behavior around women is “lecherous,” so much as “he’s just a dork. He’s not savvy with the women.”

In the realm of sexual preference, however, Schanze’s view is more clear-cut. Many who’ve known him over the years describe those views as rabidly homophobic.

Former employees recall a store meeting at a downtown restaurant a few years back, wherein Schanze suggested launching a billboard campaign. Nielsen said Schanze wanted to let the world know that “gay people are scumbags.”

Hearkening back to that anonymously delivered CD, Nielsen agreed to give it a listen. “I would swear up and down that is Dell,” he concluded. “I know that voice. I’ve listened to hundreds of his ads. I’ve worked for him for five years. He’s said it all before. If God was the final arbiter, I’d tempt the guillotine if I’m wrong.”

“Oh, yeah, definitely, that’s Dell,” added Sherri Young. “That’s not out of character; that’s the genuine article.” How would she know? “‘Tinkerbell,’ that’s a favorite of his. The preachiness; it’s a computer commercial and he’s preaching. And only he would come up with the analogy of schizophrenics marrying themselves.”

Near the end of that aimless ride in Schanze’s monster truck, he agreed to listen to the CD, popped out his daughter’s Britney Spears album and pressed play …

Is that you?

“Not me,” he said simply. “That’s a pretty good impression, though. That’s pretty dang funny actually, can I keep that?”

Later, Schanze reiterated that the recording is “obviously” somebody else’s work and would be easy to fake, even using his voice. “Everybody on the planet has said every single word on that CD,” he said. “Tinkerbell, faggots, homos, yeah, those are words that people use to describe homosexuality, or Tinkerbellism.”

“If you try and tell people that I hate gay people, you’re telling a total lie falsehood,” he continued. “I absolutely do not agree with that lifestyle.” Even though a practicing homosexual is a “scumbag,” Schanze said he doesn’t hate him. “It doesn’t mean you can’t repent and be a good person.”

Asked if he’s worried that his professed views could harm business, Schanze was unusually measured.

“I’ve had everybody on the planet attack me,” he said. “Even if I have to run one store by myself, I will always be here. You can’t take me out of me. … It’s called death before dishonor.”

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Shane Johnson

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