People Start Saying Man’s Personalized License Plate Is Offensive

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For over two decades, a retiree proudly displayed his personalized license plate on his vehicles. However, when people saw a problem with the plate, they claimed it was so “socially offensive” it must be immediately removed.

Lorne Grabher
Lorne Grabher (Credit: YouTube)

Lorne Grabher couldn’t imagine ending up in court when he asked the Department of Motor Vehicles in Canada to make him a personalized license plate with his last name. The Nova Scotia retiree’s many automobile license plates had one thing in common for more than two decades: his surname “GRABHER.”

However, an anonymous complaint was lodged against the elderly man, alleging that his license plate had a “socially unacceptable slogan.” Lorne’s license plate was revoked after government officials agreed with the allegation. That occurred in 2016, the same year former President Donald Trump was elected, and Grabher’s lawyer claimed the 45th president was key to the government’s case against his client.

Lorne Grabher
Lorne Grabher shows off his vanity plates (Credit: YouTube)

When Lorne Garbher chose to contest the revocation in court, the government’s prosecutors relied on a report by Dr. Carrie Rentschler, who specializes in “communications and gender studies.” She referred to Trump’s statement, recorded on a 2005 tape leaked during his presidential campaign, about grabbing a woman by her genitals.

Jay Cameron, Grabher’s lawyer, challenged Rentschler’s report that suggested the license plate “supports sexual violence against women.” Cameron told the Nova Scotia Supreme Court that Rentschler’s analysis does not evaluate “GRABHER” as a word or name, but rather concludes that the plate is clearly related to Trump’s remark.

President Donald Trump (Credit: YouTube)

Cameron stated that Trump is irrelevant in Grabher’s case and that the professor’s report had a “sustained and pervasive focus on Donald Trump.” It also attempts to link Grabher’s plate with rape culture, according to Grabher’s lawyer. “That is scandalous,” Cameron declared. “There is zero evidence in this case that refers to Donald Trump, with the exception of this report,” the attorney added. “I think that the court should ask itself whether or not the freedom of expression of Canadians is influenced in any way by comments by a foreign dignitary.”

Cameron questioned Dr. Rentschler’s reliance on Trump’s words to judge if the plate is objectionable. “[Rentschler] has created her report so that when she views his name, she infers other words,” Cameron said. “She assumes their existence as being self-evident to the remainder of the population.… She’s assumed things that aren’t there and then crafted an expert report.”

Lorne Grabher was so proud of his last name he also displayed it on the front of his home, over his garage. (Credit: YouTube)

According to Grabher’s lawyer, there is no proof that there were acts of violence related to the plate over the many years it was in use, and there is no evidence that the neighborhood is “more safe today because Mr. Grabher doesn’t have his license plate.”

A Transportation Department spokeswoman denied that the revocation was due to Donald Trump’s remark. But Grabher wasn’t having any of it. “Canada is not a country where a person gets to be ‘offended’ at everything,” he wrote in an affidavit. “I am increasingly dismayed by the hypersensitivity of some people who are ‘offended’ by every little thing they encounter,” he added.

“Such diversity and freedom are impossible if the government seeks to eliminate or limit every little thing and every little difference that could be perceived as ‘offensive’ to someone,” Grabher declared. The feisty senior mentioned several “government-regulated” place names in Canada, including “Dildo” and “Red Indian Lake” and “Blow Me Down Provincial Park” in Newfoundland and Labrador. In Ontario, there are towns called “Crotch Lake” and “Swastika” and a place called “Old Squaw Islands.”

The tenacious retiree claimed that he is proud of his surname, which reveals his Germanic and Austrian ancestry. The senior from Nova Scotia then received awful news in 2021. At that point, the highest court in the province confirmed the lower court’s ruling that terminating Grabher’s license did not violate his rights. The court argued that Grabher had alternative options, such as bumper stickers, and that license plates are not primarily intended for self-expression.