When a nation starts to create laws that govern speech things get slippery.
That is the case in Canada, who enforces hate speech laws, where one man learned his own name was too offensive to be on a personalized license plate.
Lorne Grabher has had his last name on his license plate for decades, something he did as a gift for his late father’s birthday, ABC News reported.
But recently one woman complained to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles that the plate was “hateful towards women” and that was all it took for Grabher to get a letter telling him his plate was being revoked.
“While I recognize this plate was issued as your last name, the public cannot be expected to know this and can misinterpret it as a socially unacceptable slogan,” the letter, written by road safety director Janice Harland, read.
The letter said the plate was considered misogynistic and that it promoted violence against women.
“When the plates first came out, I was so excited about it – this is what I wanted to get for my father. My father put it on the motor home, and he traveled to many states, he traveled across Canada…nothing was ever said,” Grabher said.
The plate has since been used by three generations of the Grabher family, including Lorne’s son, Troy Grabher, who lives in Alberta.
“Everyone’s so sensitive about things — but it’s my family,” the younger Grabher said.
And now Lorne Grabher is considering taking his case to court after he received the letter telling him his plate’s renewal was denied.
“Where does the province of Nova Scotia and this government have a person with that kind of power to discriminate against my name?” the elder Grabher asked, according to CTV Atlantic.
“My father was a very proud man,” he said. “He always instilled in us that we should be very proud of our name… and this hurts.”