An Ohio postal worker is accused of calling two gay men a homophobic slur and refusing to deliver their mail, WBNS-TV (Columbus) is reporting.
Michael Coward and his fiance, Michael Vaughn, say the dispute began when the postal worker, who has not been identified as of this writing, got upset with Coward for trying to grab his mail before the worker had put it all in the mailbox. She allegedly reacted by calling Coward a “f****t.”
From there, the worker allegedly brought race into the conversation.
“And then she just kept going on and on and on about me and my fiance being white f*****s. Yeah, not just f*****s. White f*****s.”
Coward then began recording the incident, just to make sure he had everything on video. He then confronted the woman, asking her to verify that she did, indeed, call him a “f****t” ten times. The woman could be heard on video responding, “I called you what you are.”
According to The Advocate, the postal service worker tore the men’s names from their mailbox and vowed not to deliver to them again.
“You’re telling us that you’re not going to deliver our mail because we’re quote, ‘White f****ts.’ I don’t think that’s how that works.”
You can watch heavily-censored portions of the video below.
Coward and Vaughn turned in their video to the Post Office, and filed a complaint. In a statement, the USPS promised to get to the bottom of this.
“The allegations made against a Postal Service employee are very concerning. These actions – if true – are not consistent with and don’t represent the values of the Postal Service organization and will not be tolerated. You can be assured that this alleged incident is being fully investigated and that the Postal Service will take whatever action is appropriate.”
The agency also provided a telephone number to which you can call to register a complaint (1-800-275-8777).
The two also filed a police report.
However, according to the Ohio State Bar Association, the postal worker may not necessarily have committed a crime. In Ohio, hate crimes are not considered stand-alone offenses; that is, for an act to be considered a hate crime, it has to be committed in conjunction with another crime. Nothing the postal worker did appears to be illegal, in and of itself. That includes the act of removing the men’s names from the mailbox, which is considered Post Office property.