A Canadian man has been told by his local government that his family name is misogynistic when displayed on a licence plate that has been in his family for 25 years.
Last December, Lorne Grabher received a letter from the province of Nova Scotia saying his licence plate bearing the name "Grabher" wouldn't be renewed in 2017 because it could be misinterpreted on the road as a "socially unacceptable slogan".
In an email to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Nova Scotia spokesman Brian Taylor said that the province received a single complaint about Grabher's plate. It outlined "how some individuals interpret [the name] as misogynistic and promoting violence against women," Taylor said.
So the decision was made not to allow it to be renewed. "With no way to denote that it is a family name on the plate, the department determined it was in the public's best interest to remove it from circulation," Taylor said.
"I was taken aback. How can you say my name is a slogan when it is not?" Grabher, from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, told CBC News on Thursday (23 March). He first registered the plate 25 years ago with their province's Registry of Motor Vehicles for his father's 65th birthday. The plate stayed in the family after his father died.
"Where does the province of Nova Scotia and the government of Nova Scotia get the right to discriminate against a person's name?" Grabher, whose family has German heritage, asked.
An answer may lie to the south during the 2016 American election. In October 2016, then candidate Donald Trump generated controversy when an Access Hollywood outtake recording of him emerged saying "when you're a star" you can do whatever you want to women. "Grab 'em by the p***y. You can do anything," Trump said.
The remarks were roundly condemned as misogynistic and caused many Republicans to distance themselves from Trump. They also prompted at least 10 women to come forward with allegations that he had sexually assaulted them.