A teacher came across a wildly insensitive license plate in Utah while driving. The license plate read “DEPORTM,” which was obviously meant to be read phonetically as “Deport ’em.” The teacher retweeted the image that he found and it gained so much attention, that it incited a CNN affiliate KSL to contact the Utah DMV.
It has become blaringly obvious that this is against DMV policy to possess a plate that reads a statement like this. Plates are not allowed to “express contempt, ridicule or superiority of a race, religion, deity, ethnic heritage, gender, or political affiliation.”
The Utah State Tax Commission has begun an investigation into the person who requested this license plate and has been driving around with it ever since. State senators have expressed their dissent of the license plate.
“Daniel Thatcher, a Republican state senator, noticed the English teacher’s tweet and agreed that it was blatantly offensive. Thatcher had reached out to the DMV as well but did not receive a reply as fast as the connected CNN affiliate did.
However, Thatcher followed up his tweet with another the next day. He confirmed that the state Tax Commission had become aware of the plate and that an investigation into the person behind its creation and approvers had been launched.
The Republicans said that the offender was using “State resources to promote divisiveness and racism.”
Similarly, for State Senator Luz Escamilla, the license plate was of great concern. She was very upset that someone was driving around the state with the offensive message on their car and so scheduled the topic for review this past Wednesday at the Utah Legislature’s administrative rules review committee meeting, according to reports.”
Representatives from both the Tax Commission and the DMV were prepared to attend the meeting to make it clear that they do not approve of this usage of the plate. As part of the meeting, the committee will learn how Utah goes about deciding what is or is not offensive and who pushed through this controversial vanity plate back in 2015.
KUTV asked the DMV for a list of rejected vanity plate names and received more than one hundred, including, but not limited to, “SAUSAGE,” “NSTYHOE,” “W1NGMAN,” and “PLAN B.”
Residents in the state are horrified that the driver was able to obtain the offensive and potentially racist vanity plate, “DEPORTM” which a high school teacher helped shed more light upon. Matt Pacenza is a high school English teacher from Utah, found an image of the offensive plate, and tweeted a photo of it along with the words: “Hey (Utah Driver License Division), how does this plate I just saw not violate your guidelines?”
Many people responded to the image. Over one hundred people saw the vanity plate as a “horrific” oversight. One person wrote, “that should never have been accepted by the DMV.”
The DMV website confirmed that any letter or number combinations for vanity plates that are deemed “vulgar, derogatory, profane or obscene and express contempt, ridicule or superiority of a race, religion, deity, ethnic heritage, gender, or political affiliation” are not allowed.