Controversial soap pulled from shelves


Mary Milz/Eyewitness News

Noblesville - Bars of soap considered racially offensive by many are for sale at a Noblesville store. Now there's an update to the story WTHR first reported Tuesday.

"I don't understand what this is all about. It's making a mountain out of a molehill - no, ant hole. It's ridiculous," said Gary Dewester, who continued to vigorously defend his right to sell a product inside this Noblesville mall that many find offensive.

"You guys keep sticking cameras in my face. I have a right to sell it. It's my right to sell it and I understand some may not approve of that but I don't approve of a lot of other things," he said.

Amid the antiques in his general store, Dewester has been selling novelty soaps - some featuring images and words many consider racist.

One of the owners of the mall is state Sen. Luke Kenley. After discovering that the soaps were being sold at the mall, the owners had them pulled.

Sen. Kenley told us the soap sent the wrong message. He called it inappropriate.

Even though the soap is no longer available at the mall, Dewester still plans to sell it online or through special order.

"I sold out of it all yesterday. People were disappointed they couldn't buy it. I had people from South Bend, Evansville and Peru here and I was more than happy to sell my last nine bars to a black woman from Indianapolis," said Dewester.

Two men came to the mall just to buy it.

"I left my name and number and as soon as he gets more," said one man. "They make good gifts, put them in the stocking if we get them in time."

"It's not racist. He's got honky soap in there, if it was just that it'd be different," said another man.

The Noblesville mayor sees it differently.

"We're very disappointed this ever happened," said Mayor John Ditsler. "Unfortunately it's a negative image of Noblesville, but it's not Noblesville."

Lifelong resident and retailer Tammy Daubenspeck agrees.

"Even received awards Noblesville being one of the best communities to live in so seeing all this going on really breaks my heart," she said.

"I'm not a racist. I never have been," said Dewester.

But the soaps he's been selling have been nothing but divisive.

(Note: To see two examples, click here or here. Please keep in mind that the labels may be offensive to some people. The images are being provided so that readers can judge for themselves.)