Jodi McDaniel and Jennifer Mann reportedly live ordinary lives, relatively devoid of discrimination. They have reported no aggression or distaste from neighbors in their hometown of Canton, North Carolina regarding their lifestyle as a lesbian couple with three children and one grandchild. Mann had lived in the same home her whole life, and she and McDaniel have been living there together for years with no problems, so they were taken by surprise when their son stumbled upon a blatant display of multidimensional ignorance on Google Maps of all places.
Mann’s 17-year-old son, Dakota Bonham, Googled the couple’s address at Pisgah High School on Street View when he discovered that his mother’s driveway was labeled eloquently “Fagits live here.”
The illiterate cybervandal has not been identified, but the coordinator for Haywood County, Kathy Hoglen, insists that though the county approves every street name, they certainly did not have a hand in this. “Of course we never would have approved anything like that,” says Hoglen, “we don’t allow crude or offensive names of any kind.” She also reports that the driveway where the label appears has no recorded name registered with the county and that they typically do not name private drives as it is.
The couple suspects that someone may have hacked Google’s site, or an employee made the inappropriate label. They do not believe the perpetrator is necessarily someone that the couple knows personally because McDaniel had had a window decal depicting two pink deer face to face at the time when the Google street mapping car passed by last summer and was visible from the street. Anyone could have seen the decal and posted the label.
Whoever pulled the distasteful prank, the family has expressed reasonable unhappiness in response, including the seventeen-year-old Bonham who found the slur in the first place. “I was just like, ‘What the Hell?’ Its just kind of messed up. They should kind of grow up a bit.”
“I just thought, ‘are you kidding me?’” said Mann, “I tried to contact Google but I was put on hold forever and ever and ever.”
After the Asheville-Canton Citizen-Times contacted Google last week, the label was removed. Mann says that over a month passed between finding the label and Google’s response. Google claims to be investigating the prank.
The couple is considering legal action and believes the prank to be a hate crime. “We live ordinary lives just like everyone else,”says Mann, “now it looks like I’m being a target.”