A Fulham fan from the United States is taking legal action against the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) after being denied a custom registration plate for it supposedly having racist connotations.
Jonathan Kotler, a 73-year-old university professor, wanted a personalised plate that featured the letters COYW – as in “Come On You Whites” – but the California DMV blocked the request in fear that the initials might be a racist reference.
The California DMV reserve the right to refuse custom plates if the lettering or configuration is deemed offensive, vulgar or indecent in any way.
That hasn’t stopped Kotler from bringing a case against the organisation for violating his right to freedom of speech, with a federal lawsuit filed in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
“It’s just a shirt colour,” he told BBC News. “The people at the DMV are either extra thick or very politically correct.”
Kotler, who became a Fulham fan after taking in a game at Craven Cottage during a trip to London several years ago, also said that he provided the DMV with a detailed explanation of the ‘COYW’ plate as part of his application.
I sent them tons of material. Press releases, stories from the British media, letters from the chairman who uses ‘come on you whites’.
I pointed out that many clubs in Britain are known by their colour – the blues, the clarets. Nobody thought the Liverpool reds were communists.
Even when I did it, it was the furthest thing from my mind that anyone would object to it. I was shocked, absolutely.
I decided this is crazy, this is enough. I can take it up to a point but this became personal.
Pies can see his point, but given the torrid political climate in the States at the moment, it’s probably best not to stir the nationalism pot too vigorously.
Honestly, we’re only amazed that ‘Come on you Whites’ hasn’t been snapped up already.