In Britt McHenry’s Defense, That Towing Company Seems Pretty Terrible (According To Yelp) [UPDATED]
There's an awful video that surfaced today of ESPN reporter Britt McHenry going nuts on a car towing company employee, ripping the employee's personal appearance and playing up her own status ("I'm in the news"). It's really unpleasant to watch, and regardless of what might have happened to McHenry's car or to her personally when she arrived at the towing company, it's a terrible look for both her and her employer.
Some basic internet sleuthing reveals that McHenry, who is based out of Washington, D.C., was towed on April 6 by Advanced Towing in Arlington. She tweeted about the experience, calling the company "corrupt," and the complaint was captured by ARLnow.com for a piece on, well, shitty towing practices. We called Advanced Towing via the number on their Yelp page and an employee confirmed that it was the same company. At their request, we sent an email to the manager for further comment.
Now, nothing can excuse the way McHenry acted -- she knows that (or, she knows that now that she's been outed), and she apologized for her actions in a tweet about an hour ago, admitting she said "insulting and regrettable things." That being said, Advanced Towing has a pretty dismal Yelp rating, about 1.5 stars. Yelp is certainly not the perfect forum for expressing honest views, and nobody likes it when their car is towed, but some of these comments express awfully similar sentiments to what McHenry felt. Here's a sampling (emphasis ours):
The people who run this business should be jailed or at the very least beaten with wrenches wrapped in barbed wire.
Absolute scum of the earth trailer trash. The porky front desk lady should lose some weight. Or not, hopefully she drops dead sooner rather than later from clogged arteries.
Worst company in Arlington. They steal cars and charge people to get them back. I have had my car towed 4 times mistakenly. Horrible service and employees. They will scratch up your car too. They have already been reported to the better business bureau.
Dirty crooks. They towed my car one minute after Golds Gym closed. I was advised that Golds Gym management receives a kicker per vehicle towed by this company. Paid $135 to recover my car and had to wait one hour for someone to move the car in front of my car. To make matters worse, someone splashed soda on my front right hood and there was some new scratches on the left side of my car. These guys don't take good care of the vehicles they tow and they watch lots like Hawks around the Arlington area. So you better get back to your vehicle before they try to tow your car. Car pick up window / office was very unclean, rude, lazy and inconsiderate. What a waste of money and time!
Pure garbage. Symbolic of everything that is nasty and vile on this planet.
They towed my car in Nov 2013, and their lawyer paid me for the towing charges plus court fees after I sued them in Arlington court. He told me, "I would have sued also, if they had done that to me." See my earlier review - they towed a car from a parking space that I own! If they tow your car as predators, take them to court...and win!
If anything, the 1.5 star review might be skewed a bit by reviews like this one -- 5 stars, but a "sarcastic" 5:
I can honestly say, no one tows a car quite like these guys! It was so cool seeing the car taken from a seemingly legal spot and hooked on to a tow truck. Honestly, I'm amazed the technology even exists (kind of like airplanes but that's for a different review!) Anyway, if you want the full "my car got towed experience" - this place is the best. They will overcharge you, double charge you or straight up dent and damage your car which will also cost you and deny all of it. It is really creepy there and everyone looks like they have a meth addiction. Honestly could not ask for a more authentic experience. Would get my car towed by these guys 10/10 times!
Obviously, towing companies are not the most popular. But this one in particular seems overly predatory and inconsiderate -- at least according to its customers/victims (plus, it has an F rating from the Better Business Bureau).
Unlike McHenry, most of these people aren't newsworthy enough for their rants to become an issue. Unfortunately for her, she let slip that she's semi-famous, and will pay the price for it -- she's been suspended for a week by ESPN. Again: You shouldn't be shitty to people. But it doesn't sound as though Advanced Towing is much a victim here either.
We'll let you know if/when we hear back from the manager at Advanced Towing.
UPDATE: Advanced Towing responded to our request for comment with the following release:
For Immediate Release
To Whom It May Concern:
Parking enforcement is contentious by nature. At the same time, neither Gina, our lot clerk, nor our company, have any interest in seeing Britt McHenry suspended or terminated as a result of her comments.
Ms. McHenry is our neighbor, and, as she said, to paraphrase, made remarks that were out of line. She is human and errors in judgement can be made in the heat of the moment.
Gina is a single mother of 3 children who works a difficult job to provide her family. Gina holds no ill will toward Ms. McHenry.
As a small business, we saw no benefit to releasing the video, except to highlight personal attacks employees in jobs like towing, public parking enforcement and others sometimes encounter. The video was not licensed or sold to anyone.
Advanced Towing Co.
A classy response, to say the least. Perhaps bygones shall be bygones?
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