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The Barry Weiss Moment That Went Too Far On Storage Wars

One of the main buyers in the first four seasons of the A&E reality series "Storage Wars" is Barry Weiss, a.k.a. "The Collector." Along with other professional antique buyers in the show, Weiss visits storage facilities and bids on lockers filled with abandoned items in cash-only auctions. The bidders have only five minutes to inspect what was inside and they can't touch any of the materials. Then, at the end of the episode, Weiss and other collectors determine the worth of what they bought, figuring out if they profit or lose money on the auctions.

The eccentric but likable car-obsessive man appears in four seasons of "Storage Wars" and earned many devotees with his behavior and memorable phrases, such as "I'm already tasting victory!" However, Weiss left the show to start his own short-lived spinoff series, "Barry'd Treasure" in 2014, but he does appear in the recent 14th season as a regular buyer once again, even arriving at the set behind the wheel of a 1939 Lincoln Zephyr.

Weiss is a fan favorite, yet like all reality TV stars, he has some verbal slip-ups. This is by far Weiss' worst moment in "Storage Wars."

Barry Weiss uses a racial slur in Season 2 of Storage Wars

Many of Barry Weiss' off-the-cuff remarks end up making him one of the most distinct personalities in "Storage Wars," but this Season 2 moment is more bigoted than cute. In Season 2, Episode 31, "Blame It on the Rain," Barry finds that a safe he bid on earlier is tightly locked. He tells the camera that "I'm gonna have to take this to a safecracker." Luckily, he knows one, and when the scene cuts to a middle-aged man in a hoodie, Weiss casually remarks that the safecracker "dresses like a cholo."

Weiss probably thought this was just an edgy joke for the show and it wasn't worth thinking about. But the reality is that "cholo" is a word with a history of being used as an ethnic slur, originating as an insult for mixed-race and lower class people in Mexico (via Santa Fe New Mexican). Later, the term came to mean the stereotypical image of a Latino gang member, and many people believe the word to be racist and rooted in a history of colonization.

Over time, there has been a sort of reclamation of the word "cholo," alongside "Chicano," as a new subculture that includes distinct style and an appreciation for lowrider cars has risen in Southwest America (via National Geographic). But that doesn't mean that Weiss has any more right to use the word in "Storage Wars," as he is not a member of this community. Certainly, it's a joke that wouldn't make it out of the editing room in 2022, and it shouldn't have been included in the show in 2011.