Atlanta Barbershop Owner Says He Was Misled By Republican Political Event, Trump Campaign Responds

After hosting a Trump event last week, an Atlanta barbershop owner is now alleging he was misled about the political nature of the event. It’s now resulted in a significant downturn in business since. 

Rocky Jones, the owner of Rocky’s Barbershop in Buckhead, claims he was approached by a friend to host a roundtable for small Black businesses. However, he was taken aback when the event on June 26 turned out to be a political forum featuring prominent Black supporters of Donald Trump, including former HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson and Rep. Wesley Hunt. The discussion was moderated by Rep. Byron Donalds. 

Jones, who told Atlanta News First on June 28, “I feel like I have been betrayed,” explained that he believed the gathering would be a small, private gathering. 

Instead, the event dubbed “Black American Business Leaders Barbershop Roundtable” attracted not only media and cameras but spectators and even a call in from Trump himself as well. 

The viral call has now made it rounds across national media outlets and social media. Drawing a lot of backlash due to some of Trump’s claims surrounding the Black community’s support for him because of his mugshot. 

The barbershop, listed under CEO Javier Jones in state records, became the center of controversy as Jones expressed his frustration from the fallout. “I honestly didn’t think about it. It was just once you say Black small business give back to the community, it’s like, ‘OK, I’m doing it,’” Jones said. Jones has advised others to remain cautious, noting, “Just be aware that it is election season, and the timing seems a little suspect.”

He also states that he has “no involvement in politics.” He claims he was truly under the impression that the event was meant to be an event for small Black-owned businesses.

Contrary to Jones’s claims, the Trump campaign’s official account, Trump War Room, shared documents on June 29 suggesting Jones was fully aware of the event’s nature. The agreement, signed by Javier Jones and Trump campaign treasurer Bradley Crate on June 26, stated that the campaign would host a “political event” in the barbershop from noon to 2 p.m. for $4,800. 

The document also mentioned that an individual under U.S. Secret Service protection might be involved, indicating that it could be a high-profile event. 

A source close to the Trump campaign emailed Newsweek a response saying, “The business owner signed an agreement with the Trump campaign and received payment for the time spent in his location for this event.”

Despite these documents, Jones maintains that the event has harmed his business, leading to a severe decline in customers and negative reactions from the community. “We had some calls Thursday. We definitely got some calls, some backlash, some angry people that don’t know me, and I have to deal with that,” Jones told 11Alive. He also mentioned that while he was paid to close his shop for the event, he now is willing to return the money. 

Even more scrutiny from both sides has followed since the Trump campaign released the signed contract. One X user wrote, “Receipts don’t lie,” while another wrote “People just want their 15 minutes of fame.” 

Others X users expressed their weariness about the agreement saying: “Something appears strange with this contract. It’s very interesting they would present a contract 15 minutes before the event started, for the owner to sign. So it is very possible, feeling under pressure with a $4k+ payment for 2 hours, that he didn’t have a chance to read it.” 

Someone else posted, “So you bribe people to sit and lie for Trump.” 

In an email response to ADW, the Trump campaign writes, “We had an executed contract making clear it was an agreement with the campaign, and the payments were made to the business owner.”

As of now, Jones has not responded directly to the release of the agreement by the Trump campaign. 

ADW reached out to Jones for comment on Monday and Tuesday. 

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