News :: Local

Straight Ill. Man Faces Alleged Anti-Gay Tirade at Service Center

by Michael K. Lavers
National News Editor
Thursday Aug 4, 2011
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A suburban Chicago man has alleged a clerk at a local car dealership subjected him to a series of anti-gay tirades late last month after he challenged a bill.

Milan Jajic told EDGE that he brought his car to the Packey Webb Auto Center in Wheaton, Ill., a couple of months ago after an accident. Jajic said he brought his car to the dealership’s service center, Quick Lane Tire and Auto Center, for a third time on July 25 to fix it after what he described was another minor accident.

Jajic said he told the clerk, whom he identified as Tony Tackett, that he needed his car back because he needed to return to work. Jajic alleged that Tackett tried to charge him extra for specialty parts he said he had ordered. Jajic further maintained he refused to pay the bill because he didn’t want the parts that he said Tackett had ordered.

"This guy starts screaming to me like a father to a son," Jajic told EDGE earlier this week as he recalled the incident he said took place inside the service center. "I get a little offended and say ’give me my fucking car.’ I continue to tell him I wanted my car."

Jajic further alleged that Tackett started to use anti-gay slurs against him once he said he was calling the police. "When I told him I called the police, he called me ’faggot,’ ’cocksucker’-all kinds of names," said Jajic. "I really felt like he was a hate criminal. I’m not a homosexual, but I’ve never been in that kind of situation in my life."

Jajic told EDGE he has no idea what prompted Tackett to allegedly use anti-gay slurs against him.

"I’ve never been called those words before-let alone in a professional setting," he said. "I honestly don’t know."

When asked to comment about the alleged incident, a man who answered the phone at Quick Tire told EDGE that the clerk about whom Jajic complained is no longer an employee.

"The person in question is no longer here," said the man. "I wasn’t here to witness it."

Illinois’ non-discrimination law includes both sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The state’s hate crime statute also includes sexual orientation.

Jajic expressed some sympathy for the clerk whom he maintains subjected him to anti-gay slurs.

"I would feel bad if he got fired," he said. "In this economy it won’t be easy to find a job, but anything coming from a car dealership/service center should always come with some kind of cynicism so maybe he just relocated to another Packey Webb/Quick Lane, there are a few around town."

Jajic further concluded the situation "still remains unfixed."

"This guy definitely has a lot of anger to deal with and firing him or relocating him won’t fix what went wrong here," he said, adding the alleged incident has given him a deeper appreciation of the discrimination LGBT people continue to confront. "If that’s what gay people have to go through in every life, it opened up my eyes and made me realize there’s a huge problem."

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.

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