LATINO VOICES

Puerto Rico ATM Prints Homophobic Receipt

03/06/2013 02:11 pm ET | Updated Mar 09, 2013

Automatic teller machines don’t get much more offensive than this.

An ATM at a bar called El Ocho de Blanco in the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan returned a receipt with the message “we hate fags” written in English at the bottom, sparking an uproar among the island’s LGBT community this week, as a picture of the receipt burned through social media and the blogosphere.

Both the bar and the ATM provider immediately distanced themselves from the offending message. El Ocho de Blanco put a note on its Facebook page saying it turned the ATM off and reached out to the provider, ATM Mobile Services, according to Primera Hora.

The ATM company’s president Jorge Torres said “someone from the outside gained access to the system and programming of the machine.” Torres said his company did not intentionally offend the LGBT community and would upgrade its ATM security to make sure nothing like this would happen in the future.

LGBT activist Pedro Julio Serrano thanked the companies for disavowing the homophobic message in a blog post, but also lamented that it happened in the first place. He said the incident made it clear that the island should pass a law proposed by Puerto Rican Sen. Ramón Luis Nieves criminalizing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Homophobia is unacceptable, wherever it comes from,” Serrano wrote. “This can’t keep happening in Puerto Rico.”

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