A 65-year-old man from Nova Scotia, Canada, has had a personalized license plate for more than 25 years. It displays his last name — something you’d never expect would give anyone a reason to be offended. But unfortunately, the man’s less-than-ideal last name has recently become the reason why the Nova Scotia Registry of Motor Vehicles canceled his personalized license plate.
It’ll probably make more sense when you read his name: Lorne Grabher.
Despite Grabher having the license plate for decades, only recently did someone complain about it. And it isn’t hard to see why the government agreed, as people “can misinterpret it as a socially unacceptable slogan.”
“A complaint was received outlining how some individuals interpret [the name] as misogynistic and promoting violence against women,” a spokesman from the Department of Transportation told CBC News. “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.”
Grabher, on the other hand, doesn’t agree. He said the license plate was a birthday gift from his father and that he wants to be able to use it. “If I back down then they can do this to anybody. I guess a last name doesn’t mean anything to them.” Now he’s pursuing legal action.
“We aren’t going to be suing for damages or monetary compensation,” his lawyer said. “We just want a reversal of the government’s unjust decision.”
The Nova Scotia Registry of Motor Vehicles website states people are not allowed to personalize their plates with “words or symbols socially unacceptable, offensive, not in good taste, or implying an official authority.” However, there aren’t any distinct rules about displaying your last name.
Which side do you fall on? Do you think Grabher should be able to use his personalized license plate, or is it not a good idea because of the potential misinterpretations?