A city contractor has been fired after he was caught on a home security camera directing homophobic insults at a gay man and his partner.
The man worked for the Tulsa city water department in Oklahoma and was fixing the water main outside the couple’s home.
He came to the door to tell the resident, Bobby Elder, that his water was about to be switched off – and the words Elder heard after the door closed made him want to check the security footage.
“Unfortunately, it was what we heard, and also much more,” he told KTUL News.
Captured on camera, the plumber can be heard loudly referring to the gay couple as a “bunch of dope smokin’ queers” and walking in an overly-feminine manner.
The offensive comments continue as the man approaches the front door, saying: “Get all your group showers done by then.” Then after pressing the doorbell he can be heard singing to himself: “I’m a queer.”
“I thought it was very fortunate to be able to capture this on camera to show what so many people in the LGBT+ community go through,” Elder said.
“That’s what I think hurt so bad, was how playful he was when saying it, how it was just a joke.”
On seeing the footage city officials released a statement in which they distanced themselves from the contractor and confirmed he was no longer working from them.
“This person was not a city of Tulsa employee, but an employee of a contractor working on a waterline replacement project for the city’s utility authority,” they said.
“The behaviour displayed by this individual was ignorant and reprehensible and does not reflect the city’s values of diversity, inclusion, and respect for all of the constituents we serve.
“The city has talked to the contractor and this individual was removed immediately from all city projects.”
Elder said he appreciated the city’s response to the man’s homophobic behaviour.
“I would never wish for anybody to lose their job, or wish ill will on anybody, no matter what their beliefs no matter if they differ from mine or not, but I do believe that all actions have consequences,” Elder said.
He added: “His perception of what takes place in my home is not reality, you know. The reality is that this home is full of love.”