Fender Custom Shop Master Builder John Cruz has parted ways with Fender.
Fender has confirmed to Guitar World that Cruz is no longer with the company, but said it was not company policy to comment publicly on the circumstances regarding his departure.
Speculation surrounding Cruz’s exit stems from a post made on social media by Bass the World founder Gregor Fris who, on June 2, asked, “Hey Fender Custom Shop Master Builder John Cruz. Are you planning to stop making fun of harming and even killing black protestors anytime soon?”
Fris’s comment appears to refer to a now-deleted meme, which has since surfaced on The Fretboard forum. There has been no confirmation that Cruz posted the image.
Cruz joined Fender in 1987, and landed the position of Master Builder at the Custom Shop in 2003. During his tenure, he was best known for his reproductions of classic instruments, including Stevie Ray Vaughan’s ‘Number One’ Stratocaster, Jeff Beck Esquire Relic, Gary Moore’s 1961 Fiesta Red Stratocaster and, most recently, Phil Lynott’s Precision Bass.
Fender issued its own statement in response to the protests against George Floyd’s unlawful death on June 1, detailing its “fight against inequality and injustice” and intention to “amplify voices of change”.