An Edmonton, Canada, man was horrified to receive a valentine from a co-worker that included a homophobic slur.
Party City employee Degas Sikorski said he came out as gay at the age of 14, and has never had any problems regarding his sexual orientation in the three years he's worked at the store, said Global News.
That is, until he went to the store the day before Valentine's Day for his first shift in about six weeks. As he was finishing up, Sikorski went into the break room and found a valentine that was given to him by a supervisor.
"In the [center], below my name, was the word ‘faggot’ and right under it was ‘there’s a reason you’re not getting any shifts’ right below the word ‘faggot,'" he said. “My jaw hit the floor. [I thought] Oh my God, I’m not safe here.”
Sikorski was shocked, telling Global News that he always thought the store was a welcoming, accepting place for him to be.
"Suddenly I can’t be myself. Suddenly I can’t accept myself and be who I am at Party City for fear of retaliation from somebody in the staff," he said.
Shelley Sikorski, the 20-year-old's mother, said she was devastated by what happened to her son.
"It’s very upsetting. I think that’s where my outrage came from. There’s no reason for it. This is somebody that doesn’t know Degas," she said. They are currently considering speaking to the police about the incident.
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson tweeted his support for Sikorski, saying that "discrimination based on sexual orientation is unacceptable, and is offside with our widespread spirit of #yegpride," according to CTV News.
Party City responded to the controversy in a statement after Sikorski's story went viral.
"Party City does not condone this behaviour and is committed to creating a fair and inclusive working environment. We are currently looking into this matter and will provide more information as it becomes available," the statement read.