A lesbian couple in North Carolina were the victims of what they believe is a hate crime after finding out their home address on Google Maps had been renamed "Fagits Live Here." Yeah, sounds pretty fucking hateful to me.
Jennifer Mann and Jodi McDaniel discovered the horrific name change when their 17-year-old son casually looked up their address on Google Maps. The Advocate reports:
"I just thought, 'Are you kidding me?' " Mann says. "I tried to contact Google, but I was put on hold forever and ever and ever. This day and time, with people and hate, you just can't live your life." She calls the incident a "hate crime."
For a month, the slur remained, attached to their home on Google Maps—the company finally took it down this week after the Asheville Citizen-Times intervened. John Boyle at the Citizen-Times reported:
Kathy Hoglen, addressing coordinator for Haywood County, said the label did not originate at the county level. Hoglen said she or someone in her office approves every street name, and they typically don't name private drives like the one in question.
That driveway has no name registered with the county, she said.
Hoglen maintained that such language would never have been approved anyway. Good to know. While the couple suspects that the person behind the hurtful label may have been a Google employee or a hacker, Google Maps uses a crowdsourced tool to make edits, as Nicole Hensley at New York Daily News points out. So although Map Maker's explicitly disapproves content that is "profane, obscene, or defames or attacks anyone,'" the editors wouldn't likely have noticed the naming of a private residential drive using a slur that was misspelled.
"We don't bother nobody," she told Boyle. "We live our life normally like normal people do. [We] take care of kids, go to work, go home. We don't deserve this."
I'm glad Google took the slur down, although it's almost astonishing that it took such a long time. There have been far less serious instances of Google Maps graffiti that have been dealt with much more efficiently. Sigh, once again, assholes on the internet really make a case for why we can't have nice things.