The owner of Normandy Farm Bakery and One Broad says he will no longer expose himself in public after being reported to the police on Friday evening for pulling down his pants at a downtown event showcasing women-owned businesses.
“You know I’ve always been the life of the party,” Mike Ray says. “But this attempt didn’t go over so well. I had a horrible lapse in judgment.”
According to Ray, immediately upon revealing his genitalia, he realized that the 40 people gathered for Parlour: Charleston — a quiet cocktail party featuring four leading designers and dealers of high-end artisan goods — weren’t inclined to tolerate sexually provocative behavior. He left the building before police arrived, event organizers say.
Charleston Police Department spokesman Charles Francis confirmed that dispatchers around 8:30 p.m. received a complaint of a “manager showing up; behaving strangely and exposing himself.”
After Ray stepped into an area set aside for photo-taking and exposed himself, “everyone had this startled, violent reaction,” featured artist Britt Bates says. “Nobody wanted to tackle him, because they were kind of wondering if it was somebody’s friend.”
Erin Reitz of housewares company The Shelter Collection, which hosted the event, adds that some guests called for a manager. Most of them were apparently unaware that Ray owns the private event space above One Broad where Parlour: Charleston was held; Ray had served as the organizer’s contact person leading up to the event.
”We were quite offended,“ Reitz says. “We felt very disrespected, and embarrassed for our clientele.”
Ray says he has apologized to the people involved, but Reitz says he called her husband. “It really insulted me even that much more,” she says.
In the past, Ray says, people have enjoyed the shock value of his antics.
”But I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable,” he says. “It’s out of the repertoire. No more.”