License plate featuring man's last name deemed offensive
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) — A Canadian provincial government has withdrawn a man's personalized vehicle license plate, saying Lorne Grabher's surname is offensive to women when viewed on his car bumper.
Grabher said Friday that he put his last name on the license plate decades ago as a gift for his late father's birthday, and says the province's refusal to renew the plate late last year is unfair.
A December 9, 2016 letter from Nova Scotia Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal informed Lorne Grabher that he could no longer keep his personalized license plate because someone had complained about the perceived phrase, "GRABHER.”
“Please be advised that the Office of the Registrar of Motor Vehicles has received a complaint about your personalized plate GRABHER," wrote Janice Harland, registrar of motor vehicles and director of road safety for the province. "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."
Grabher says the Nova Scotia government is discriminating against his name.
Transport Department spokesman Brian Taylor says while the department understands Grabher is a surname with German roots, this context isn't available to the general public who view it.
The personalized plate program introduced in 1989 allows the province to refuse names when they're deemed offensive, socially unacceptable and not in good taste.