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A longstanding sweet shop and concession rental business has been in the news this week after the new owner made comments on social media that caused a boycott of the Detroit Popcorn Co. 

Evan Singer, who officially owned the 97-year-old company for about a year, posted in response to a video of damage to a Target store: "they wonder why they need knee’s on there necks (sic).”

These comments resulted in a social media-fueled boycott of Detroit Popcorn Co.

Tuesday, previous owner David Farber released a statement denouncing Singer's comment. Farber said the Redford-based company has been returned to him and that he plans to sell it instead to African-American investors. 

More: Detroit Popcorn Company sells after social media comment caused boycott

Farber sold the company to Singer about a year ago, but he says there was a clause in the agreement that "if he does anything disparaging or harmful to the name of the Detroit Popcorn Company that we have the right to call in the note."

"So we enforced that clause," Farber told The Detroit News. "We're saying 'you don't owe me anything, we're signing the company back over to me.' He's not getting a penny. He's not associated, he's not affiliated. It's not a cover-up." 

Farber said he's been friends with Singer's father for 60 years and has known Evan, who is 36, all his life. 

"But just because I'm a friend doesn't mean I will tolerate this," Farber said." "I'm not going to hide behind a shield and say I didn't know Evan, of course I know Evan. I've known him since the day he was born. But I don't tolerate this."

Farber, who has owned Detroit Popcorn Co. since around 2006, said before this he was trying to set Singer up with a "hell of a deal" so he could pass the company onto him. 

"I wanted to go off in the sunset and retire and enjoy my life and this is what I got for it," he said. "Evan lost a career. Period. There's no reward. There's nothing."

Now after the COVID-19 crisis and Singer's social media comments, Farber says the business is worth less than it was a year ago when he sold it. He's concerned not just for the legacy of the 97-year-old Detroit Popcorn Co. that he worked hard to uphold, but for his 20 employees. 

"It's a struggling company going forward," he said, adding that there are groups interesting in buying it but nothing he can discuss yet. "I truly believe it needs to be minority-owned." 

Farber says that while he thinks Singer is a good person, he can't defend what he did and said he was "an idiot" for the comment he made on Facebook. 

"I'm trying to preserve the company and rebuild the company's good name and I'm trying to preserve the employment for 20 people," he said. "We've done a tremendous amount of good things in the community over the years." 

mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens

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