Calgary police are investigating a self-described “Christian activist” who’s been distributing flyers showing a local university professor’s face superimposed on a graphic sexual photo.
Darren Lund, an education professor at the University of Calgary, says the material being distributed into Calgary mailboxes is difficult for his family. “My children were quite upset by this particular flyer,” says Lund. “My daughter remarked that this kind of bullying is completely inappropriate in a junior high school setting, but it’s especially unfair coming from an adult.”
In 2007, Lund won a controversial Alberta human rights commission case against a youth pastor who, in a letter to a Red Deer newspaper, likened gay people to pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps. The recent flyers, which were distributed in communities near the university, describe Lund’s complaint as “homofascist” and “bigoted.” A photo on the flyer shows men having oral sex, and Lund’s photograph is used to block out the details.
Lund says he’s received several phone calls of support from people who received the flyers in their mailboxes. “No matter where people stand on issues of free speech or sexual orientation, I think it’s a pretty widespread feeling that these kinds of bizarre and offensive personal attacks are really inappropriate, no matter what,” says Lund. “It seems that this is a person who seems to misunderstand the responsibilities that come along with free speech.”
On February 14, Bill Whatcott — the activist behind the flyers — wrote on his website that he was stopped by police while delivering the flyers after some residents complained to police about the material. “The officer told me my flyer might constitute a hate crime,” Whatcott wrote. “I told him I had the right to tell the truth about homosexuality and academic homofascism.” Whatcott also said some of his flyers were confiscated.
Police won’t comment on the specifics of the matter, but confirm they are investigating and consulting with the Crown on how to proceed. Whatcott has a history of aggressively protesting homosexuality and abortion.