Georgetown shops complain about Irish Travellers

Editor’s note: this post originally referred to the subjects of the article as gypsies. The author did not intend any offense, and the language has been edited to provide a more accurate description of the group in question.

In case Georgetown didn’t have enough mythical or unwanted pedestrians, a few shops including Ella Rue, Betsy Johnson, and Second Hand Rose have complained about an invasion of Irish Travellers.

“They are young girls, anywhere from six to seven of them, decked out in designer wear, all with long hair,” said Krista Johnson, owner of Ella Rue. “They generally have one older woman with them. They make a mess. They throw clothing on the floor, put on sizes that are too small, and tear the clothing.”

The Travellers, according to the owner of Betsy Johnson, rarely steal merchandise though. Instead, they arrive with their screaming babies and sometimes wreak havoc by switching tags or removing sensors. But they sometimes shop –and when they do, they prefer to buy with hundred dollar bills and credit cards, according to the owner of Second Hand Rose.

According to Krista Johnson, the Travellers say they live in Sterling, Virginia. According to Johnson, “They all say they are living with their uncle, but most of them have babies or are pregnant. The children are very neglected. Their diapers are dirty.” It’s unclear how Johnson knows so much about them.

The owner of Second Hand Rose said, “[They arrived] like a storm—pretty, blond, big-busted, and they all have hundred-dollar bills. They spend.”

Still some stores–Urban Chic, Sassanova, Wink, and Second Time Around–haven’t encountered the Irish Travellers, according to The Washingtonian.

Also, the Travellers aren’t on Metropolitan Police Department’s radar because the owners of the stores haven’t filed official complaints. “I know some people don’t want them in their stores,… I might feel differently…. I’m not convinced they are thieves,” said the owner of Second Hand Rose. How tolerant Georgetown shop-owners are of people who spend hundreds of dollars in their shops.

17 Comments on “Georgetown shops complain about Irish Travellers

  1. (class of 99) Let’s be careful about the racial overtones here. Who says these are “Gypsies”? How do you know? “buxom blonde” doesn’t seem like a very clear category here. Is it because they have “dirty” babies? Or because they are suspected of stealing? Be careful about the stereotypes you’re perpetuating, please. Not to mention, if you had any real/clear evidence that these are “Irish Travellers” – you should be aware that that is something very different from a person of Romani descent. Why must this be about “Gypsies”? And especially if it’s not clear that anyone has committed a crime. Try inserting “Jewish person” or “African-American” where you keep sticking “Gypsies” and see what kind of a response you get to this article? You probably wouldn’t be writing for the Voice anymore.

  2. sorry but you are wrong….they are not Gypsies they are Irish Travelers… a Gypsy please don’t insult us by getting it wrong.

    many thanks

    a Gypsy from UK

  3. @Jennifer
    If you read the article on The Washingtonian, they apparently are “Irish Travelers”. From the tribe.
    And there’s even a TLC show about the tribe.
    Although, to be fair, most TLC shows are fairly offensive.

  4. Yep, glad I’m not the only one who thought this was straight up racist/bigoted.

  5. Vox should really consider taking this down. The ‘article’ is not news. The author and editor should be required to take a class on diversity.
    Good lord vox, be a real campus news site again, not just some ‘gawker-esque’ wanna-be.

    Also if you’re attempting satire here… fail. terrible, terrible, terrible fail.

  6. I think we need to have a forum to discuss this. I, for one, am extremely offended by this article.

    Didn’t the Voice learn anything from what happened at the Hoya when they attempted satire 2-3 years back?

  7. Guys, I don’t really see this as a problem. As someone of Irish heritage myself, what’s the problem with Vox poking a little fun at the Irish?

  8. Where is Todd Olson?! I want some public condemnation immediately! Time for someone to put a brick through Ryan Bellmore’s window.

  9. If you have a problem with Vox’s regurgitation of Carol Joynt’s article in the Washingtonian, perhaps you should write to Carol Joynt. None of the language Vox used here is any different from — and actually, less offensive than — the language Ms. Joynt uses in her article. Joynt refers to the Irish Travellers as “Irish gypsies” as slang, and also makes a reference to the TLC show “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.” So, if gypsies are the problem, that’s a better place to be complaining.

  10. Took your advice. Wrote to Carol Joynt.

    But the fact that Vox simply ‘regurgitated’ an article doesn’t make the *original* language used by vox any less offensive. They did the right thing when they changed the wording… The original article was much different.

  11. Dear Vox readers,

    Your concern with remaining to the utmost politically correct standard is simply distracting. The main discussion here in the message board should be directed towards solving how to deal with these disruptive “Irish Invaders”, who have not only pilfered our stores but have begged aimlessly on our streets. Call them what you wish, the bottom line is that Washington D.C. already has enough problems.


    A Concerned Hoya

  12. Nonsense, I believe these are the same Irish folk that sold me potato wedges on the corner of M and Wisconsin.

  13. I am an Irish Traveler and live in Murphy Village South Carolina. Murphy Village is the largest most affluent enclave of Irish Travelers in the United States. Writer beware, Murphy Village residents at one time viewed these remarks as nothing more than jokes. This outlook is rapidly changing and will be answered in the near future with multi-million dollar lawsuits. Defamation – The publishing of false or misleading derogatory information that affects someone’s standing in the community or employment. As the person commenting above stated; would you make these same statements and insert “African-American”.

    These articles are written by educated individuals???? Is racism being taught in the class room? Did your parents teach you to disrespect a culture simple because you disagree with their religious beliefs, social customs and traditions? Is this what you will teach your children? Are you a closet racist? No one can be just a little racist. If you call Irish Travelers “Gypsies” in your article, I’m sure you call African-Americans by the “N-word” late in the evening at your dinner table? If these questions offend you, then you proved my point. Should racism ever be acceptable?

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