Hateful texts sent to women who previously worked for Vancouver Candle Co.; police investigating
Published Tuesday, June 16, 2020 6:33AM PDT Last Updated Tuesday, June 16, 2020 11:41AM PDT
VANCOUVER -- Warning: This article contains language that may be disturbing to some readers.
More women have come forward claiming they received hateful messages from the founder of a Vancouver candle retailer who recently resigned.
Nick Rabuchin, of Vancouver Candle Co., announced he was stepping down last week, after racist messages surfaced online.
Recently, two other women said they had received hateful text messages they believe were sent by Rabuchin.
They said they were sent text messages on Nov. 2 from a number they didn't recognize at the time. They also said they didn't know others had also received disturbing texts until just this month.
Christina McDaniel, co-owner of sales agency Warner McDaniel Agency, was the first to mention the messages.
She posted three text messages she said she received in what she described as an effort to shine a light on racism amidst the Black Lives Matter movement.
"I've literally suffered from anxiety and stress and had to go on medication," McDaniel told CTV News Monday.
McDaniel said she'd faced intimidation and harassment for the past two years, and she decided to take her business partner's advice to speak out.
She alleges Rabuchin, a former client of hers, has been bullying her since they parted ways.
On June 6, McDaniel posted a series of photos on Instagram showing text messages using racial slurs. She alleges she received those messages from Rabuchin.
In a post on Instagram, he denied sending a text message using the N-word, which was one of the messages posted online.
But he said he "did rationalize the use of that hateful slur as being an acceptable part of pop culture," and admitted to sending a derogatory text about a "fellow member of the Jewish community."
He said he'd be leaving the company, and that he planned to take sensitivity training. He also apologized, and said he felt ashamed and embarrassed.
The company said it did not recognize the number that appeared in the messages McDaniel posted.
Other women come forward
When Nicolette Zoric saw McDaniel's social media post, she was stunned, she said.
She told CTV News she also received a text message from that same number, just 10 minutes before McDaniel received hers.
"When I saw that, I just, I thought, 'Wow, I'm not the only one.' And that brought up so much fear again," she said.
Zoric said she was Rabuchin's personal assistant for three months in the spring of 2019. She said she quit because it was a "toxic" work environment, but that she told Rabuchin she was leaving the company to try another industry.
She thought she had left on good terms until she received that message on Nov. 2.
She said the message said, "LOL you have no idea how much I want to slam your fucking face into the ground do you? You better watch out Nicolette! Next time your (sic) out and about…I'm coming to get you!"
Zoric said she was paralyzed with fear that day and had many sleepless nights the following two months.
"While I was at work I was looking over my shoulder," she said. "I was scared to walk to my car at the end of the day because I was afraid that someone would smash my head to the ground."
Though she said she didn't recognize the number, Zoric said she believes it was her former boss who threatened violence in those texts.
When she got her family and friends to call that number, it had already been disconnected.
A third woman said she also received a hateful text that day from the same anonymous number.
Erin Sousa said she was a consultant for Vancouver Candle Co. for about two years.
Sousa shared the text message with CTV News, which she alleges was sent by Rabuchin.
It said, "I saw you the other day. Fuck you have packed on the pounds girl! How is the baby coming along (sic) have one in you yet? You might, but fuck you are so big (sic) how can you tell?"
It went on to say, "You have always been a pice (sic) of garbage…You are still a fucking bumpy face fat pig."
McDaniel said the Vancouver Police Department has opened an investigation into the messages.
"When I approached the VPD, I approached them as, 'I was attacked with this racist language.' And they've now reopened it as like a criminal harassment investigation of harassing women – multiple women," McDaniel said.
She believes the legal system needs to change to reflect how there are various ways to harass and threaten someone.
"The laws need to be updated on cyberbullying in this digital age," she said. "If someone is going to be racist, they're going to hide behind social media, they're not going to say it to someone's face."
Vancouver police confirmed there's an active investigation into an incident which involves people from Vancouver Candle Co., but wouldn't provide further information.
Vancouver Candle Co. and Rabuchin did not respond to requests for comment on this story.