Drew Slope was doing his job at a gourmet food store in Charlotte, NC, when he recognized one of the customers: Gov. Pat McCrory. Apparently unable to restrain himself, Slope confront McCrory, telling him, “Thanks for nothing.” What followed next is disputed, with Swope saying homophobia played a role in how McCrory supposed responded. However, one thing is not in dispute: that remark caused Slope his job.
There’s plenty of reason to echo Slope’s sentiment. A one-time Democrat, McCrory has veered to the right to capture conservative votes. When he was mayor of Charlotte, McCrory didn’t want the city LGBT pride event to take place in a local park. “If they need to do it, I think it belongs in a hotel,” McCrory said then. He voted in favor of the state’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality and appointed an outspoken opponent of LGBT rights to the state’s task force on safe schools.
While he agrees that he was right to be fired for being rude to a customer, Swope also alleges that homophobia played a role in how he says McCrory responded. After telling McCrory off, Swope says the governor started shouting at him. (McCrory’s office says the governor never shouted at Swope and charges that Swope shot the governor an obscene gesture, which Swope denies doing.)
“When he started yelling at me, it was a sudden turn because I made sort of a swishy move,” Swope told Talking Points Memo. “I’ve been discriminated against a lot, and I can see that moment when someone just suddenly goes ballistic because of this other thing, not what you said or did.”
“I don’t know what he was thinking, but I’ll tell you from man to man: He was hating on me for being a fag,” Swope added.
Despite losing his job, Swope says he would do it all over again. “Oh, this is a tough state to live in, dude. It’s really weird,” he said. “But this is where the battle is, and I’m not leaving and I’m not going to shut up.”