John Mellish often uses the sign at his used car dealership to give people a laugh as they drive along P.E.I.'s Highway 2.
But over the weekend, Mellish sparked an international uproar with messages social media users are calling sexist.
Charlottetown entrepreneur Chelsea Ling posted this picture to Facebook on Saturday, of what she called an "obvious put-down" of women.
"I just want to point out to people that it's not the one joke," Ling told The Huffington Post Canada. "It's that sexist jokes like that are so ingrained in our society that we don't understand it's a problem."
The sign was up until Sunday morning, when it came time for Mellish Motors to change it.
By then Mellish had heard people were talking about his sign on Facebook. But instead of putting up a less offensive message, he posted this one, in an effort to jumpstart a conversation about social media.
"We decided we would put a little bit of kindling on the fire there and see where social media takes this," Mellish told HuffPost Canada. "And we would bite the bullet if we had to."
But that wasn't the last thing he had to say on the topic. Mellish Motors later displayed this one.
Asked why he had to post such messages to start a conversation about social media, Mellish said he wasn't targeting women.
"I took it from another site, I read it, I laughed, I thought it was cute," he said.
Asked to explain how he wasn't targeting women, he responded, "Can [a] guy be a drama queen?"
Mellish added that he's also used his sign to make jokes about men. One of them said, "Used cars and husbands. Both good-looking on the outside, but issues with both."
That logic likely won't fly with social media users who found the sign(s) offensive.
Come on. Jesus.January 19, 2016
Mellish said most of the calls he's received about his sign have been positive, although he did report one threatening response to the police.
He wasn't sure whether he plans on posting more messages about women in future.
"I've probably got 15 little notes on my table," he said. "That's enough to carry us a month or a month and a half, and I've probably got 150 inside my office."
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